WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) -- A church community is holding together after their place of worship was severely damaged by a fire last week.
Flames broke out at the St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Harris Avenue early Wednesday morning. The 70 year-old building was heavily damaged but many of the valuable items inside were saved, and four days later, the congregation held the first services since the fire.
"The first thing is shock," said Joseph Cherkes, a lifelong parishioner. "It's not something you can plan for, it's not something you can anticipate."
Worshippers met at the church hall next door Sunday morning, where everything about the service was familiar except for the venue.
"We're just going to continue on," Cherkes said. "That's all we can do."
There's no word on when they'll be back allowed inside the church for services, but even holding them in a makeshift chapel next door didn't seem to bother anyone.
- Photos: Church damaged by fire
"Top notch as usual," Cherkes said of the mass celebrated Sunday morning.
Woonsocket Fire Department investigators say they believe the fire to be accidental, most likely caused by leftover coal and ashes from an incense burner that was used last Tuesday night.
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