WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Fire investigators say it appears a candle could be to blame for a fire inside Blessed Sacrament Church in Warren.
“They’re very lucky. That could have been a total loss depending how long it continued to burn,” said Warren Fire Department chief Ken Nussle.
One parishioner called it a “Christmas miracle” that the fire didn’t do more damage than it did.
The fire happened Sunday morning, about an hour and a half before Mass was scheduled to take place. Those who attend the parish are thankful their beloved church is still standing.
“Words can’t describe how grateful we are,” said parishioner Judith Gerrity.
She can’t help but feel thankful someone passing by spotted a fire inside.
“He was instrumental in saving a great deal of the church, I’m sure,” Gerrity said.
Gerrity isn’t the only one.
“Literally God had to have intervened to save this church right before Christmas,” said parishioner Susan Deleo.
It was around 7 a.m. Sunday that someone called 911. When the firefighters arrived, they were able to quickly put it out.
“It appears that a candle was left burning all night and ignited some combustibles, how long it was burning it’s hard to tell. The fire didn’t extend very far,” Nussle said.
Most of the fire damage was contained to the ambo but there was smoke damage throughout the church.
“We’re grateful to God that we were spared a much more catastrophic loss,” said Blessed Sacrament pastor Fr. Christopher Cicero.
The hum of air purifiers filled the church Monday and although the area damaged by the fire is small, Fr. Cicero said there’s a lot of work to do to clean the smoke damage.
He’d like to be able to resume Mass in time for Christmas, but he doesn’t know if it will happen.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort to get that done. We just have to take it as it comes and trust that it will be what we need when we need it,” Fr. Cicero said.