Residents of Laventille Road, Port of Spain, were left shaken but unharmed when the abandoned St Thomas Baptist Church collapsed during heavy rainfall on Tuesday morning.
Newsday visited the area and spoke with residents, who said they heard a rumbling just after 8 am.
Alicia Beguesse, who lives next to the church, told Newsday she was afraid, but was grateful no one was injured.
"I remembered hearing it this morning and I told myself, 'Lord, what is this now?'
"I'm just grateful for life right now. But this is a blessing in disguise, as it highlights the need to demolish this building."
Beguesse said residents have been calling for the building to be removed for years as they were concerned it could be a hazard.
Another resident, Adanna Hamit, said she was on the ground floor of her house when she heard the building collapse.
"I was getting ready for work when I heard it.
"At first I thought it was a car crash, but when I went out to see I saw it was the church that collapsed.
"I'm just happy to be safe right now."
Newsday spoke to deputy Port of Spain mayor and councillor for the area Hillan Morean, who was on the scene. He said the church had been earmarked for demolition several times but the demolition was delayed owing to logistical issues.
"When we had the national clean-up campaign a few years ago it came up, but I was unable to find a local contractor to get it done.
"Eventually I got a contractor from south to get it done, but there were logistical issues in navigating the backhoe and equipment along this narrow road.
"Of course, the collapse of it now will expedite the process."
Residents said the church has been abandoned for over 15 years.