Fire damages historic Philadelphia church

Aug. 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A four-alarm fire Sunday caused extensive damage to a historic 99-year-old church in Philadelphia, including the partial collapse of the roof, officials said.

The fire broke out about 1 p.m. EDT at St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church. About 125 firefighters got the fire under control by 3:19 p.m.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said he called crews out of the structure just before the roof caved in, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, reported.

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia says St. Mary -- one of several Orthodox churches in Philadelphia -- was built in 1914 by the Oak Land Baptist Church, and is classified as a "historic religious property."

The congregation of about 100 people is mostly made up of Greek and Ukrainian immigrants, a church member told the TV station.

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