Paterson firefighters battle 4-alarm blaze to save historic church

PATERSON, NJ — The Paterson Fire Department responded to a 10:20 a.m. call at 40 Hopper Street Wednesday to find two homes fully engulfed in flames and a neighboring church threatened by the blaze.

"The flames were so hot on arrival that it almost burned our fire engines," said Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott. "Immediately we got water, covered the church to protect exposure from the church."

Parishioners rushed to the scene to find stained glass windows blown out and water damage inside, but the building was still standing.

"As soon as I heard I rushed down," said parishioner Keica Holmes, "I've been a member of Christ Temple Baptist Church for 21 years."

"I commend the fire department because they were able to preserve this historic house of worship," said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.

Siding melted off of neighboring homes but no one was hurt or displaced by this fire. The two houses that burned were vacant.

"Thankfully they [were] abandoned because we didn’t lose any lives," said Mayor Sayegh.

Officials say the cause of this fire is under investigation. What remains of the two burned houses will be demolished.

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