Fire damages New Utrecht Church steeple
If lightning strikes are an act of God, then New UtrechtReformed Church may have experienced a roundabout miracle.
The church’s parish house steeple was struck by lightningonThursday, June 9, during a round of thunderstorms, setting itablaze and drawing three fire companies – Engine 243/Ladder 168 inBath Beach, Engine 284/Ladder 149 in Dyker Heights, Engine330/Ladder 172 in Bensonhurst – to its grassy expanse along 84thStreet and 18th Avenue. Fifteen neighbors had called 9-1-1.
The response was magnificent. I guess when they hear it’s achurch, they run, said Susan Hanyen, a New Utrecht parishioner whoserves as the vice-president on their consistory. They had to snapthe chains on our wonderful wrought iron gates to get around. We’reso grateful that they went the extra mile [because] we havewonderful stained glass and they did not touch that.
Hanyen came to the church from her home in Bay Ridge afterreceiving a panicked phone call from the church sexton, MichaelBlydenburgh, who Hanyen credits for making sure firefighters hadaccess to the building immediately and without having to breakwindows.