was evacuated on Tuesday afternoon when a suspicious smell was detected inside of the church.
"It smelled like gas, so we called the fire department just to be safe," Diane Lawlor, the parish's business manager, said.
There were a number of parishioners in the church praying, and they were asked to leave by church staff.
The North Bellmore Fire Department responded to the call at 2:16 p.m., and Haz-Mat was there as well. It turns out the odor was coming from the church's basement.
"The odor in the basement was strong, so we were thinking it’s something serious," North Bellmore Fire Chief Eddie Kraus said. "It was more like a sewage smell. That’s methane and hydrogen sulfide. That will kill you if you breathe it in long enough."
It turns out that there was a scissor lift that had been charging in the basement, and it malfunctioned, which caused the odor to be released into the air. Although it had been left plugged in charging for two weeks, the charger is supposed to stop charging when it reaches 100 percent capacity.
"The battery overcharges, and then the Sulfuric Acid boils," Kraus said. "If someone’s exposed from that long enough, they can get sick from it."
After unplugging the battery, all of the readings taken by fire officials were reported at zero, although the stench will likely remain until the church is ventilated.