Officials: Fire at Schenectady’s Unitarian Universalist Society not suspicious

Firefighters at the scene Sunday night. Credit: Peter Barber/Staff Photographer

Firefighters at the scene Sunday night. Credit: Peter Barber/Staff Photographer

SCHENECTADY — Authorities are continuing to investigate a fire that damaged the Unitarian Universalist Society in Schenectady on Sunday.

While still under investigation, the blaze does not appear to be suspicious, said Assistant Fire Chief Don Mareno.

“The fire was contained to one room where the fire started,” said Rev. Lynn Gardner.

Fire damage was limited to the mechanical room, while the lower floor and worship area incurred smoke damage.

Gardner said the exact extent of smoke damage remains unclear.

Firefighters were called Sunday evening to the Unitarian Universalist Society after passing firefighters noticed smoke coming from the building at 1221 Wendell Ave. at 6:45 p.m.

No injuries were reported and custodial staff who ordinarily live on-site were not present at the time.

Church officials will meet with their insurance company on Wednesday, Gardner said. In the meantime, the building remains closed and the power shut off due to electrical damage.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the congregation has been meeting remotely, so the fire won’t interrupt services, Gardner said.

“We’ll be figuring out what our next steps will be from there,” Gardner said. “We don’t have to adjust what we’re doing. We’re continuing to be a church and worship.”

Gardner thanked the Fire Department for its quick response, as well as Mayor Gary McCarthy for appearing on the scene.

“We’ve been really grateful for the expressions of care and concern coming from folks in the community, as well as various people around the country.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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