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'Fireball' at Hornsey Moravian Church after Christmas tree goes up in smoke on Boxing Day

PUBLISHED: 09:48 27 December 2019

Firefighters tackle a blaze at Hornsey Moravian Church in Priory Road. Picture: LFB

Firefighters tackle a blaze at Hornsey Moravian Church in Priory Road. Picture: LFB

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A "flaming Christmas tree" caused a devastating fire on Boxing Day at Hornsey Moravian Church in Priory Road.

Firefighters stayed to watch for secondary fires at Hornsey Moravian Church overnight. Picture: Adam JogeeFirefighters stayed to watch for secondary fires at Hornsey Moravian Church overnight. Picture: Adam Jogee

London Fire Brigade were called at ten to three in the afternoon, and six fire engines and about 40 firefighters were quickly on the scene.

The church's minister, James Woolford, had been celebrating Boxing Day in Yorkshire but travelled back to London when he heard about the fire.

He told the Ham&High: "I think some of the lights on the Christmas tree overheated so the tree went up, and then we have vents in our steeple that saw a secondary fire start. There was fireball, or a flash fire, there.

"I think it was going for about three hours in total, for two of those the fire brigade were there.

"It's been pretty dramatic. Fortunately the building is structurally sound, but it's going to be quite the rebuilding job."

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The brigade said part of the ground floor and church's roof were damaged by the fire but there were no reports of any injuries.

The firefighters reported that the fire was under control by 1629. Fire crews from Hornsey, Holloway, Finchley and Tottenham fire stations were at the scene.

James later added that the church hall had been undamaged so the incident should not affect the coming winter night shelter it hosts in late January, and that services would be held in the church hall while repairs were carried out, so parishioners shouldn't worry. He said the church was lucky to have insurance.

James added: "We are really grateful to the fire brigade, they were fantastic and stayed watch overnight in case of any secondary fires."

He said he had been inundated with messages from would-be volunteers who would help the clean-up, but at this point he was waiting to here from the church's insurers.

Cllr Adam Jogee (Lab, Hornsey) visited the scene shortly after the fire had been extinguished. He told this newspaper: "The Moravian Church is a huge part of the Hornsey community and I am so pleased to see the fire was contained and extinguished as fast as it was."

The fire brigade said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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