WEST ORANGE, NJ – In West Orange, the New Year started with a bang—well actually a fire. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Main Street, one of West Orange’s oldest historic landmarks, was nearly destroyed by fire on Jan. 1.

The three alarm fire was reported just before 5 a.m., and took about three hours to contain, according to West Orange officials.

Sign Up for E-News

"The building dates back to 1827 and is the oldest church in the township,” said Susan Anderson, spokeswoman for West Orange Township. “It's is a big part of West Orange history and a big loss to the community.”

According to The Episcopal Diocese of Newark, they closed the church in 2004, and sold it about a year ago. The Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal Church was the new occupant.

“West Orange is saddened by the loss the former St. Mark's Episcopal Church, a nearly 200-year-old Main Street landmark severely damaged by fire on Friday morning,” said West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi.

"It's disheartening to wake up to the news of this fire," said Parisi. “The church has been a Main Street fixture and we can never replace its significance to the community."

“Township officials are grateful no one was hurt and commend the professional response of fire, police and construction department personnel,” he said. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Video provided by Rob Muson as well as all photos.