The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Fire Breaks Out Below Harlem's First Corinthian Baptist Church

By Sonja Sharp | December 22, 2011 7:34am

HARLEM — A fire broke out inside a grocery store and spread into a popular church on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard early Thursday morning, authorities said.

Emergency crews received a call of a fire at 1916 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., at the corner of West 116th Street, at 5:41 a.m., the FDNY said. There were no injuries reported, officials added.

The ground-floor Falcon Deli and Grocery where the fire originated sits below the 6,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church, and parishioners arrived there early Thursday to survey the damage.

Aside from broken windows, fire officials at the scene said the church appeared to suffer no damage.

“It’s a miracle. ... I’m just thankful,” said church trustee Evelyn Gleason, adding that the house of worship recently underwent renovations. “There’s enormous love for this church and the pastor of this church. The community loves this place.”

Church Pastor Michael Walrond said the congregation "would have had services in the street" if the damage was worse.

“Whatever would have happened would have been fine," he said. "Crisis is what defines us. And crisis is when you show your strength.”

The grocery store suffered extensive damage in the blaze, said FDNY Capt. Steve Lonergan at the scene.

Owner Hamid Hizim, who said he arrived at the store Thursday morning to find smoke pouring from the deli's security gate, vowed to reopen.

"[I'll] wait and decide what's my next move," he said.

A total of 25 units and more than 100 firefighters responded to the scene, bringing the blaze under control at 6:15 a.m., the FDNY said.