Delaware County

Fire Guts Historic Delaware County Church, But Walls Still Stand

Flames tore through the Old Third Presbyterian Church in Chester, Pennsylvania, Thursday morning

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What to Know

  • Flames gutted a Delaware County church rich in history Thursday morning.
  • The five-alarm fire at the Third Presbyterian Church in Chester, Pennsylvania, church took a couple hours to get under control.
  • The church structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.

Flames tore through a historic Delaware County church overnight, gutting the structure and causing the roof to collapse.

The fire at the Third Presbyterian Church in Chester, Pennsylvania, began around 2:30 a.m. Thursday and would quickly spread as flames shot into the night sky. It took crews a couple hours to bring the five-alarm fire under control.

No injuries were reported, no one was believed to be inside the church and people evacuated from nearby homes were allowed back in.

The stone walls of the structure still stood while much of the interior of the building appeared to be destroyed.

Firefighters continued to pour water on hot spots as daylight broke Thursday. Some flames popped back up around 6:45 a.m.

The historic church along 9th Street, which dates back to 1896, has been under restoration by the Chester Historical Preservation Committee, which took control of the church after it went unused for a few years.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.

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“So much history is gone… nothing was renovated, you could feel the history anytime you walked in there,” witness Gabriella Downey said. “It’s just sad.”

The beautiful, iconic building" was intended to become a performing arts space and the home of the Chester Historical Preservation Committee, CHPC said on its website.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Drivers are urged to avoid 9th Street and take Interstate 95 or Route 291 to get around the scene.

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