Former church catches fire in Coaldale

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COALDALE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fire ripped through a historic church in Schuylkill County Tuesday night.

St. Mary’s of Assumption Church is a historic church in Coaldale. It’s been around since the early 1900s and residents were upset to see it go up in flames. It was all hands on deck with at least 50 firefighters from units across Schuylkill County working to put out a fire at St. Mary’s of Assumption Church on Second Street.

Ricky Burns lives across the street and called 911 after noticing heavy smoke on the back corner of the building.

“From the corner of the house, it was all smokey and sparks were flying. Kind of looked like fireworks and I realized the power went out so I called the fire department,” Burns said.

It took firefighters about 45 minutes to knock out the fire. Coaldale Fire Chief Steven Polischak tells Eyewitness News it took more time because of the age of the structure.

“Went right in after, made an aggressive interior attack, and we were able to extinguish it,” Polischak said.

The chief also said the owner of the church uses the building for commercial purposes. Residents who live in apartments attached to the church were evacuated and later allowed to go back home.

“There was no extension into any other building other than the old church-type structure,” Polischak said.

The fire did knock out power to some houses on the street. PPL was called to turn it back on. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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