Fire Rips Through Church Rectory In Lawrence

An intense four-alarm fire ripped through the rectory at a church in Lawrence Monday night. WBZ-TV's Nick Emmons reports.

Video Transcript

DAVID WADE: Breaking news here 10:00, out of Lawrence. A big fire has broken out at a church rectory. Tonight crews are dealing with flare-ups, trying to stop that fire from spreading to the church. Right now crews say, the fire has been contained to the rectory behind the church and has not burned inside the church itself. Good evening to you, I'm David Wade. I want to go live right out to the scene. That's where Nick Emmons is tonight. Nick?

NICK EMMONS: Yeah, David. We're here on Essex St., in Lawrence. If you're familiar with the area of where this church is, Holy Rosary Church, I'm going to step out of the way. Give you a better idea of what's going on in terms of the firefight.

As you mentioned, they have things under control now. And this is the first that they've really been able to get inside of that rectory, which is immediately behind the main church there. They're getting inside to take a look at the structure of that rectory. That was really engulfed with flames. This is 4 alarms at one point.

It was so dangerous at one point, fire crews had to come out of the rectory, and essentially they let it burn through the roof, so they could get a better attack on it from the ladder crews. And their water hoses, attacking it from an exterior attack only. Really the main goal with this was to prevent this fire from spreading. They wanted to keep it contained to the rectory.

And it appears as if they were able to do that. Really it's amazing that they were able to keep this wood structure contained, to just the rectory, considering what the flames looked like earlier this evening. We caught up with the Fire Chief not long ago to get an update on what this firefight was like and what their goals were here, and he gave us an update on what they were dealing with earlier this evening.

BRIAN MORIARTY: We've been successful in keeping it out of the church. The church did have some smoke damage, but we have not had fire into the church. There's only one person that lives in the rectory, one priest, he is not injured. He's off right now with our fire inspectors.

NICK EMMONS: So that priest, I'm told, is now staying with a parishioner. He is OK, that's the good news here. Just for some background on the church and the rectory. I'm told the church was built back in the late 1870s. The rectory, which is attached to the church, built a little bit later in 1900, maybe just after 1900.

So a lot of history here at this church, a lot of people in the community came out wanting to make sure everything was OK as well. And they're really happy when they found out that the fire did not spread to the church itself. There might be some minor damage inside, but everyone here thankful the church was spared from this fire, considering how intense those flames were here.

That's the latest live in Lawrence. I'm Nick Emmons, WBZ News.