Police are now investigating whether a massive blaze that destroyed a historic church in Sydney's west was an arson attack targeting a stash of Easter donations.
A crime scene has been established after the blaze gutted the Macedonian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection on Frederick Street in Rockadale just before 10pm on Sunday night.
Firefighters batteled a ferocious blaze that engulfed a church in Sydney's south overnight. Photo: 7 News
Police have received information about a safe in the church which would have been stocked up with cash after Easter mass donations.
Investigators will try to access site to see if any money has been taken.
Two firefighters were hospitalised after battling the ferocious blaze, which also caused a nearby nursing home to be evacuated.
More than 60 residents at the Uniting Care retirement facility were evacuated and given blankets to keep warm.
More than 50 residents from a retirement village were evacuated. Photo: 7 News
Two residents from the nursing home were taken to hospital and were treated for chest pain.
A nearby block of flats was also evacuated as distraught church patrons watched firefighters desperately trying to contain the blaze.
Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said three firefighters were injured by falling bricks while fighting the blaze, two were taken to hospital.
“One of them hit him on the air cylinder that he was wearing and knocked him to the ground,” Mullins said.
They were given blankets to keep warm. Photo: 7 News
“He was dragged out by colleagues."
Another firefighter was struck by bricks which hit his his shoulder, chest and leg.
They are both in a stable condition.
Mullins also praised the actions of the team of 60 fire fighters who stopped the fierce blaze from spreading further.
Members of the Orthodox community believe a candle fell over inside the building following their Easter celebrations last night. Photo: 7 News
"Every window by the side of the fire has been cracked by the heat," Mullins said.
One witness told 7News: “Everything happened so fast."
“The trees caught on fire and just everything just went alight,” he said.
Read more at https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/31487505/rockdale-fire-destroys-historic-sydney-church-injuring-three-firefighters/