ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A fire at a Rockford church Monday morning caused $3 million in damages.
The Rockford Fire Department responded to St. James Rockford Church, 428 N. 2nd St., around 6:45 a.m. for reports of a commercial structure fire, according to the department. Firefighters found smoke showing from the roof of the church when they arrived.
Flames were visible at the rear of the church along the peak of the roof. Firefighters entered the church to gain access to the attic, but they were forced to back out. Three firefighters were injured during the evacuation. They were transported to local hospitals and are reported to be in stable condition.
The fire was brought under control within one hour. Crews remained on the scene for the next three hours to put out small fires trapped under the roof and within the attic’s insulation.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
The Diocese of Rockford said in a statement that “no one was present inside the buildings at the time of the fire and the pastor, Father Jhonatan Sarmiento, was able to safely remove the Blessed Sacramento from the interior… The Diocese of Rockford is fully cooperating with the Rockford Fire Department as the Department completes its work to assess the stability of the church building and report its findings to the diocesan administration. As soon as it is possible and pending that report, the diocese will then conduct an assessment of the church’s interior….Information about alternative arrangements for Masses will be announced by St. James Parish Office. Bishop David Malloy extends his profound gratitude to all the first responders, the vigilant neighbors and all those around the diocese who have offered prayers during this extremely sad and unfortunate event. Prayers are also being offered for those three courageous firefighters reported to have sustained injuries while fighting this fire.”