HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Hubbard community is in shock after a fire heavily damaged St. Patrick’s Church.
Firefighters were called about 5:45 p.m. Monday to the church on N. Main Street.
Smoke was seen pouring from the roof and back of the building as crews arrived.
“I can’t believe our church is on fire,” said Deacon Michael Medvec when he arrived on the scene.
Other parishioners were not far behind and started showing up one by one.
“I’m just in a state of shock,” Medvec said. “I just never ever thought something like this could happen.”
Several fire crews were called to help out. Firefighters had to cut a hole in the ceiling to get to the flames.
The crowd stood and watched as the work was being done to save the building. Many who were watching the damage grew up in the parish and said it has always been a big part of their lives.
“We just got married in July here,” said Alexandra Turosik, “This church is really special to us, obviously. I’ve grown up here and gone to this church my entire life.”
The parish has been a part of Hubbard for over 150 years. Pastor Michael Swierz knows how important the church is for the community.
“The church is the center of our life here in Hubbard. It is a very large and active parish with many young people,” he said.
Mayor Ben Kyle reacted to the news on Facebook.
The new leader of the Youngstown Diocese, Bishop David Bonnar, was on the scene. He said that no one was hurt in the fire.
“Buildings can be repaired, and the church is more than just bricks and mortar. It’s the people of God, and we are seeing that here tonight. The people are all out here just showing their love and affection for the Church and for this parish community,” Bonnar said.
Neighboring parishes will be ready to take in those from St. Patrick’s. Although Father Swierz doesn’t know how long it will take, he’s certain that his church will be back.
“We will rebuild and, as we always said, no matter where we go, no matter what happens to the building, the people of Hubbard, the Church, is still here,” Swierz said.
It’s believed the fire may have started in a kitchen area. The cause is under investigation.