Church destroyed by fire in Montclair; several firefighters injured
A three-alarm fire burned through a church in Montclair, New Jersey.
The fire broke out just minutes before 8 a.m. Tuesday inside Grace Presbyterian Church on Grove Street. A passerby called 911 to report the building on fire.
Heavy flames were reported in a wing of the church building. Police say it possibly started in the basement.
Smoke could be seen billowing from a basement window, before spreading into the first floor. Within about 90 minutes, the church’s roof had collapsed.
Fortunately, no one was inside at the time. The interim pastor of the church, Robin Curras, said she received a flurry of texts and phone calls.
“We were hoping it was a little thing,” Curras said. “It was bad.”
Mayor Sean Spiller said that the fire caused extensive damage to the church. A few firefighters suffered minor injuries.
“How I feel, I want to vomit and cry, it’s devastating,” Curras said.
The flames got so intense, firefighters had to be pulled back.
“Church fires are hard because of the age of the wood and the spaces,” said Chief John Herrmann, Montclair Fire Department.
The fire was contained around 11 a.m.
The inside of the church was devastated by the flames and the work to get the fire out.
Members of the church showed up heartbroken to see the damage.
“People are already saying we can worship here or there, coming up with solutions,” Curras said. “We’ll figure it out.”
Town inspectors are on the scene. State inspectors were expected to respond as well.