By Constantinos Iacovides and Evie Andreou
The 18th century Ayios Mamas village church was badly damaged after a fire caused by a lit candle broke out on Thursday afternoon and again early Friday morning.
The fire brigade responded to the initial call around 5:30 pm and the fire was apparently extinguished.
But the fire reignited around 1:40 am Friday to which the fire brigade responded with two fire engines.
The second fire was eventually extinguished but the church’s roof, wall and iconostasis were seriously damaged.
The church, located at the Ayios Mamas village was built towards the end of the 18th century.
Residents said they were devastated over the destruction particularly over damage to some 19th century icons. They criticised the fire service for not leaving firefighters in place to ensure the fire did not flare up again.
Fire service spokesman Andreas Kettis told media the crew that responded to the call, after putting out the blaze, had helped the priest remove old icons.
Kettis said that the crew checked before leaving with the help of specialised equipment to make sure the fire would not reignite but that they had not spotted anything suspicious.
Kettis said that perhaps a burned particle inside the iconostasis may have caused the reignition.
The church had been renovated around two years ago.
President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his sorrow over the damage to the historic church. The government would help to restore it said as it “is part of our cultural heritage”.