Firefighters battled a heavy fire at the Our Lady of the Assumption church in Copiague Wednesday, officials said.
The fire at the Roman Catholic church on Molloy Street was reported at about 2:45 p.m., Suffolk County police said.
At one point, large flames and dark smoke rose several feet above the building.
The blaze prompted authorities to close nearby roads including Dixon Avenue at Volta Street and Great Neck Road and Dante Avenue, cops said.
Officials with the Copiague Fire Department could not be reached for comment. No one with the church's staff returned calls for comment Wednesday.
Police said the fire began in the church's auditorium. There were no injuries reported Wednesday afternoon and the fire did not appear to be suspicious, police said.
Suffolk police's Arson Squad detectives are investigating, officials said.
The heavy blaze caused onlookers to gather near the church.
“This is very upsetting,” said Copiague resident Connie Labrador. “My kids were baptized there.”
Local residents watched as fire crews packed up their trucks, giving them a round of applause as they left the scene.
Residents described it as a busy parish that caters to a diverse flock, including Latinos and immigrants from Poland.
“This is a big deal,” Labrador said as she watched from across Dixon Avenue. “Nothing like this has ever happened.”