Occupy Sandy Church Damaged In Suspicious Fire

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 25 2012 8:26 AM

Occupy Sandy Church Damaged In Suspicious Fire

Volunteers help distribute meals and supplies at an Occupy Sandy center on November 22, 2012 in the Staten Island borough of New York City

Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images.

The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, a historic church in Brooklyn currently doubling as Occupy Sandy HQ, was the victim of an apparent arson attack early Sunday morning.

The church at 520 Clinton Avenue, rebuilt in 1914 after a fire, stored supplies and donations for relief work across the city, including thousands of toys for children in the hardest-hit areas. The alleged arsonist took gasoline stored at the church for a Rockaways holiday party, poured it around the front entrance of the building, and set it on fire, according to the New York Post. Three volunteers were in the church at the time of the fire. They escaped uninjured and called 911.


The New York Times spoke to church curate the Rev. Christopher Ballard, who said that the building suffered "significant damage" from the fire. The wooden doors at the front entrance burned, and the foyer is damaged. The sanctuary escaped relatively unharmed, however. Most of the donations stored in the church had been cleared for Christmas services, but those remaining were unscathed as well. As for motivation, both police and church officials don't have an explanation yet. “Somebody decided to take those canisters, dump them on the doors of the church and set the gas on fire,” Ballard said, adding, "We don’t know why someone would do this, what darkness is in someone’s heart.”

Occupy Sandy, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, began relief work in the city soon after Hurricane Sandy hit in late October. The mutual aid cleanup effort received a lot of praise for outshining the response of larger organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross in many neighborhoods with the worst damage.

On Monday, Occupy Sandy volunteers turned their attention to cleaning up the damaged church, which still held Christmas Eve services, DNAInfo reported.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.