Parishioners in Elizabeth rattled after wind leaves church dome in danger of collapsing

ELIZABETH, New Jersey (WABC) -- When the wind was whipping on Sunday morning, residents say a church dome in New Jersey was rocking.

Residents of Elizabeth are rattled; thinking that one gust of wind could blow the top right off of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church on Grier Avenue.

"It was really rocking," says Maria Silva.

Officials say the metal bracing inside the church tower snapped from the force of the wind gusts - everything from the shutters to the gold dome, to the cross on top.

Like most churches, it is an old building, officials say that and the wind are to blame. Police had to create a 'collapse zone', shutting down several blocks surrounding the church, just in case the wind picks back up and blows the tower right off.

The rectory next door was also evacuated as a precaution. Neighbors say the church steeple interrupted Sunday morning mass.

"People were running, and then they went into the priest's house across the street, and they run that way," said one parishioner.

Officials say the street will stay closed on Monday, because construction crews will be on-site dismantling the dome and taking it apart piece by piece. null
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