Priest jumps from burning Macedonian Orthodox Church in Melbourne

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A  priest leapt from the first floor of a burning church and into the arms of a group of police officers in Melbourne’s north early on Saturday morning.


Police officers were on patrol in Tyler Street, Preston, about 12.30am when they saw smoke coming from the St Nikola Macedonian Orthodox Church near the corner of Albert Street, local media reported.

After calling for backup, the officers scaled a two-metre wrought-iron fence and broke through a door to the church’s residence, but were forced back by smoke, heat and flames.

A Victoria Police spokesman said the officers then heard a priest calling for help from a first-floor window.

“At least six of the police members linked arms and told the man that they would catch him if he jumped,” Senior Constable Adam West said.

“He jumped and was caught safely by the officers.”

The drop was more than 3.5 metres, a Metro Fire Brigade spokesman said.

The priest, in his 30s, was the only person in the building at the time. He was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which caused an estimated $100,000 damage and appears to have started in the roof.

Police said the fire did not appear to be suspicious.