4-alarm fire damages Rochester church on Christmas

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Fire Department worked on a four-alarm fire at Jefferson Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday.

The fire occurred around 6 p.m. just a few hours after Pastor Hanson Drysval said that their Christmas service ended which was at 1:30 p.m. Officials say the first RFD unit arrived within three minutes and advanced hose lines into the building. Within three minutes the second alarm was raised.

Due to the size of the building, amount of fire and increased hazardous conditions the units inside were called to evacuate and the third alarm was declared. Once the fire broke through the roof the fourth alarm was called for additional water supply.

The RFD had nine engine companies, five truck companies and one rescue with multiple support units on scene. The Ridge Road Fire District and Gates Fire District assisted with an engine company and water supply.

Authorities say no one was inside when fire first started. One firefighter suffered a hand injury and was transported to the hospital.

“We are just grateful even in the worst possible situation there is always something to give God thanks for. We are giving god thanks in spite of this my faith, it’s not weaken. Still maintain the confidence and trust that God can do anything but fail.” Pastor Hanson Drysval said.

Officials from RFD said that when they require a majority of their force to respond to a fire like this other departments in the county will monitor other areas in the city.

“We always have to be prepared 24/7. Just because if it’s Christmas or a holiday there’s never enough time to be complacent that nothings going to happen. So we’re treating this like any other day and I’m grateful for every single member for their hard work and dedication that they protect the citizens everyday for the city.” Rochester Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez said.

The church suffered sever damage to the building and the City of Rochester is assessing the structure.

The Rochester Fire Department is continuing the investigation and no cause has been determined.

Check back with news 8 as we continue coverage on this developing story.

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