Firefighters from the Glen Rock Fire Department and departments from surrounding towns responded to a fire Tuesday afternoon at the Monsignor Holmes building at St. Catharine Church on Maple Avenue and Rodney Street in Glen Rock. The fire was located in the attic of the building, which is detached from the church itself and is used as a meeting center/recreation center for the church, and on the roof. Glen Rock Fire Department Chief Tom Jennings said the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and according to a statement from St. Catharine, no one was injured.
The Glen Rock Police Department got the call about the fire at 1:11 p.m. and the first officers arriving at the scene observed heavy smoke coming from the building. Fire departments from Fair Lawn, Ridgewood, Hawthorne, Ho-Ho-Kus and Midland Park assisted the GRFD in fighting the fire, which was extinguished in 45 minutes.
Students at Academy of our Lady, the K-8 school that is attached to the church, were not evacuated, but moved to the furthest part of the school from the Holmes building. Traffic on Maple Avenue and Rodney Street was re-routed on side streets for a part of the afternoon.
Jennings, who refuses to speak to reporters from Banana Tree News, told television news crews covering the story that the fire “looked like it started in the area of the furnace/boiler room.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Video above and photos courtesy of Simon Toffel.
According to the statement from St. Catharine, all students, faculty and staff at both the church and the school “are safe, and all emergency procedures were followed.” The church anticipates all regular activities will go on as usual Wednesday, and urged parishioners and families with students at the school to visit the parish website for more information.