Brampton church remains resilient, vows to rebuild after devastating fire
Published Sunday, April 6, 2014 8:38AM EDT Last Updated Sunday, April 6, 2014 12:38PM EDT
Members of St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church lead Sunday mass at St. Augustine Secondary School in Brampton. (Image: Keith Hanley / CTV Toronto)
Members of Brampton’s St. Elias the Prophet Ukrainian Catholic Church are vowing to rebuild after a devastating fire burned their beloved church to the ground early Saturday morning.
More than 15 fire trucks were called to Heritage Road and Bovaird Drive in Brampton just before 7:00 a.m. on Saturday after a massive blaze engulfed the iconic building.
The 20-year-old church was completely gutted after a two-alarm fire ripped through the wooden building, destroying years of memories and causing more than $500,000 in damage.
In a statement posted on St. Elias’ website Sunday morning, church officials said they planned to rebuild the popular local landmark as soon as possible.
“Those of us who were blessed to experience the beauty and tranquility of our dear church know how much it will be missed,” the statement read.
“Those of you who were around to build it know how much work lies ahead. But for now, we thank God for those things that fire cannot destroy, and remind ourselves that God’s people are the Church. We will build a new home for them.”
The church also thanked the public for its outpouring of support following the devastating blaze. “We are greatly relieved that no-one was injured, and grateful for the support that started to pour in before the flames were even extinguished.”
The church has set up an online donation page at CanadaHelps.org to help with the rebuilding process.
Meanwhile, church services on Sunday were relocated to Brampton’s St. Augustine Secondary School.
Churchgoers packed the local school for Sunday mass as church officials delivered an emotional Ukrainian Catholic service.
Father Roman Galadza, church pastor and spiritual leader, said Saturday that his parishioners are devastated by the tragedy.
"It's like a death in the family," Galadza told CTV Toronto. "I'm still a bit numb. I feel for (the parishioners)."
Outside the now-burnt church, parishioner Lileya Nazarowitz broke down in tears as she spoke to reporters, explaining the valuable role the church played within the community.
"Every year, there were so many things that we did here, so many memories. It's all gone," she told reporters. "It doesn’t feel real yet."
Officials say the circumstances of the fire do not seem suspicious and are working to investigate the cause of the blaze.