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Historic Montclair Church Extensively Damaged by Fire

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August 16, 2023 | NEW JERSEY BILL TOMPKINS, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

MONTCLAIR, NJ - A historic church just shy of being 100-years-old, was gutted by a three-alarm fire on the morning of August 16th.

The church, located at 153 Grove St., was a large one-and-a-half-story irregular shaped stone structure. Passing motorists first alerted the fire department at about 8:00 A.M. of smoke showing from the building. Companies arrived and transmitted the working fire. The fire was apparently in the basement and had a head start before firefighters arrived. Members entered the structure, but soon the first-floor flashed and everyone was ordered out of the building. A second-alarm was sounded as a defensive operation was set up. The smoke condition gradually grew from all openings of windows and doors.

Fire broke through the roof in the rear as the smoke condition was venting with force. A third-alarm brought additional mutual aid as conditions continued to deteriorate. Flames slowly worked their way across the sanctuary roof towards Grove Street. Montclair’s two trucks were put into operation. Nutley Ladder 1 was positioned in a driveway on the “C” side. Orange Engine 4’s stick was operating from another driveway from the next block. Several ground monitors and handlines were operating as well.

By 10:00 A.M., most of the sanctuary roof had collapsed in along with other collapses in other parts of the structure. The smoke began to lighten up and firefighters were then able to cautiously re-enter. The fire was placed under control at about 11:00 A.M., and some mutual aid was able to be released. Four firefighters received minor injuries. The cause is under investigation. 

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BILL TOMPKINSCorrespondent

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