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'Suspicious' Fire Destroys Vacant Staten Island Church, Officials Say

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 30, 2015 11:46am
 The fire at 641 Delafield Ave. took more than 150 firefighter nearly two hours to put under control.
House of Miracles Church Fire
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PORT RICHMOND — A vacant Staten Island church was destroyed early Wednesday in a large blaze that fire officials have deemed suspicious.

The House of Miracles Church, at 641 Delafield Ave., on the corner of Elizabeth Street, went up in flames about 2 a.m., said FDNY Deputy Chief John Hodgens, of Division 8.

More than 150 firefighters responded to the three-alarm blaze, which wasn't deemed under control until more than two hours later at 4:30 a.m., Hodgens said.

Two firefighters received minor injuries while battling flames, Hodgens said.

None of the surrounding homes were damaged by the blaze, Hodgens said, in part thanks to the morning downpour of rain. 

"I think that actually saved a lot of the property that is in the area," Hodgens said.

Fire marshals were investigating the cause of the blaze but Hodgens said it's been deemed "suspicious" based primarily on its size. 

The church was vacant, and hasn't been used for services in the past year, Hodgens said.

A neighbor, who did not wish to be named, said the house of worship had changed hands several times — it had been a synagogue until 2005 — and has had previous problems with people sneaking inside.