BETHPAGE, NY – The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Isidoros in Bethpage, NY was damaged by a fire on Tuesday, January 24.
According to News12 Long Island police reported that, “the fire broke out at 1:45 PM and a section of Stewart Avenue had to be closed temporarily. It took around 75 firefighters to get the flames under control, officials say.”
Fortunately, no one was in the Church at the time and no injuries were reported.
Robert Brodsky of Newsday reported, “the cause of the fire, following an investigation by the Nassau County Fire Marshals Office, was determined to be an accidental electrical fire, said Chief Fire Marshal Michael F Uttaro.”
According to News 12 Long Island, parishioners “say the inside of the church is severely damaged so it will need a total restoration,” and Newsday noted, “the rear of the church suffered damage along with varying degrees of smoke, fire and water damage throughout the building, detectives said.”
News 12 video “shows items from the church being carried out in an attempt to save them from the flames. Leaders of the church raced to try and save what they could after the fire tore through the building.”
Church member George Katsaros told the TV station, “it’s very sad, it’s very disappointing that we weren’t able to catch it sooner.”
An icon of St. Isidoros “painted by the church’s founder was saved from the destruction even though Katsaros says it was close to the fire. ‘It did bubble up, but the image itself is still visible, it’s one of the only icons that was not damaged that was that close to the fire…So, that in itself is a miracle to us.’”
A GoFundMe account has been set up by to raise money to rebuild the church. Parishioners told News 12 Long Island that, “after decades of giving what they could to the community, they are now in their hour of need and are praying that the community will help.”
(Material from Newsday and News 12 Long Island was used in this article)