A historic Ukrainian Orthodox church in East Oak Lane was gutted by fire Sunday afternoon while the bishop, the pastor, and a large part of the congregation were at a picnic celebrating Ukrainian Independence Day.
The Associated Press reported one firefighter suffered minor injuries. No other injuries were reported in the blaze at St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church, first reported about 1 p.m., but all of the intricate stained-glass windows, woodwork, and artifacts inside were believed to have been destroyed.
Philadelphia firefighters closed several blocks for hours, snaking dozens of hoses up ladder trucks to battle the four-alarm fire. At one point, thick clouds of gray smoke encircled the spires of the Beaux Arts church with Gothic Revival stonework. The fire was declared under control at 3:19 p.m.