Fire chief: Cause of New Rochelle church fire to be determined this week

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Fire crews are still trying to pinpoint the cause behind a blaze that damaged a popular New Rochelle church Thursday.

Fire officials say flames broke out around 8 a.m. at the Zion Evangelical Baptist Church on Lockwood Avenue. They say no one was inside at the time.

Close to 70 firefighters battled the flames from different angles while several fire departments from neighboring communities were called in to help with the three-alarm fire. The flames caused extensive damage to storage and living areas.

The department expects to have answers as to how the fire broke out by the end of the week.

"The investigation is ongoing. Our investigators have been there over the last few days, still undetermined at this point," says New Rochelle Fire Chief Andy Sandor. "It's not believed to be suspicious at this point."

Fire officials say the size and construction of the church made it a difficult fire to fight. "There's a lot of void spaces in these old churches, a lot of dry wood so once the fire gets going, there's a lot of fuel inside, sad to say, and that's not a good combination," says New Rochelle Fire Department Chief Andy Sandor.

Though the doors to the church have been closed, the congregation has been offered space from another area church.

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