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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Church Fire Causes Roughy $200,000 in Damage

A Christmas morning fire at a Greendale church will make the church unusable for up to eight weeks.

Rev. Alan Jurkus said the fire at St. Alphonsus Church, 6060 W. Loomis Rd., caused nearly $200,000 in damage.

Weekday masses have been canceled this week while crews begin the cleanup process.

Church officials said the back of the church was gutted, and a posting on the church website said 15 classrooms above the church were damaged by smoke. Crews are working to clean them up before classes resume next week.

The fire was spotted around midnight Christmas morning, 45 minutes after the 10 p.m. Mass concluded. Jerkus said they were fortunate a neighbor saw the flames in the church and called police.

"It makes you wonder why it had to happen at Christmas," he said. "The good news is the damage isn't as bad as it could have been."

Jurkus said the church will be unusable for up to two months while repairs are made, but the parish hopes to accommodate funerals and weekend masses in the church's community room and gathering space.

"Thanks to those parish members who have offered to help," Jerkus said in a statement on the parish website. "Together, with God's help, we will not only get through this, but we will be a stronger more united parish. We thank God no one was injured."

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

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