Historic church in Chester ravaged by fire

Tim Jimenez
May 28, 2020 - 7:26 am
The old Third Presbyterian Church was ravaged by an early-morning fire on Thursday, May 28, 2020.

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

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CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Investigators are trying to get to the bottom of a five-alarm fire that ripped through the old Third Presbyterian Church in the city of Chester.

Crews started battling the fire at 2:30 a.m. Thursday and spent hours blasting water at historic church at 9th and Potter streets.

The church was built in 1896, but it hasn’t been active in years. The Chester Historical Preservation Committee bought the abandoned building and was planning to restore it, according to member Michael Felock. He says the church is "irreplaceable." 

The organization had plans to use the building for events, including the performing arts.

“I can tell you the stained glass windows, the architecture, the ceiling — you could have taken this place and drop it in the middle of France and it would have been right at home. It was that unique,” he said.

The outer walls of the church are standing, but the roof has collapsed. Inside remains nothing but piles of charred debris.

“It’s gonna take a while to wrap my brain around this. It’s surreal. It really is,” he said.

The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in November. 

No injuries are reported, and the cause of the fire is still unknown. Some of the homes nearby were evacuated as a precaution.