09/20/2014 10:20 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:02 EDT

Fire destroys St. John the Baptist church in Edmundston

A fire destroyed an historic church in Edmundston, N.B., on Saturday morning.

The city's entire fire department — about 35 people — responded to the call, which came in around 4:40 a.m. local time.

Crews battled the blaze for about two hours, but there was no hope of saving the Anglican Church of St. John the Baptist, on Church Street near Costigan Street.

“It was burning really hard. The only thing we do know is that it started from outside of the building, can’t say much more than that. The building is lost, pretty much. Right now the fire marshal is on site and he is trying to determine the cause of the fire,” said Edmundston spokesperson Mychele Poitras.

The church was built in 1873 and classified as a historical site in 1991. The building was being used as a centre for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but was empty at the time of the fire.

Poitras said this is the second fire in the same area in the past two weeks. A smaller, older church on a neighbouring property also burned, she said.