A two-alarm blaze has totally destroyed a Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brampton, Ont., outside Toronto.
The fire at St. Elias the Prophet Church, located on Heritage Road north of Bovaird Drive West, started around 7 a.m. and by 8:10 a.m., according one witness, the entire building was fully engulfed by flames.
"There is practically nothing left," wrote Twitter user Tash Reed in a tweet less than 20 minutes later.
More than 15 fire trucks and dozens of firefighters responded but, after extinguishing the blaze, only a skeleton of the church remained.
Firefighters said there was very little they could do to stop the mostly wooden building from burning to the ground. They added there were were no fire hydrants nearby and that high winds fuelled the massive flames.
The pastor was inside the church at the time but was able to escape unharmed.
Peel Regional Police say there are no reports of injuries.
“This is a community of deep faith and this is just a tragedy,” said Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell at the scene.
According to the church’s website, the building was built through fundraising efforts in 1995 and is “steeped in the Byzantine Ukrainian tradition of wooden architecture." Its structure consisted of “heavy Douglas fir timbers sheathed in western red cedar.”
”All our churches are beautiful but this is the one we fell in love with because of the structure itself,” said Salwko Nazarowicz, parishioner.
The parish community began in 1976.
Fire officials believe the fire started somewhere in the basement.
Police say the cause of the fire will be investigated.