Fire causes $200K in damages

Published on: 12/27/2011

Greendale - An early Sunday morning fire at St. Alphonsus Parish and School caused more than $200,000 in damage.

Greendale Fire Chief Tim Saidler said the state fire marshal, on the scene to assist because of the holidays, called the cause of the fire "undetermined."

Saidler said the second-alarm fire broke out in a lower-level storage area of the church building, 5960 W. Loomis Road, at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, forcing the cancellation of Christmas services. Masses were scheduled for 8:30 and 11 a.m.

A 10 p.m. Saturday service was the last held there.

Fire, smoke and water damage was extensive, fire officials said, although the fire was contained within about 45 minutes.

Saidler said no one was in the building at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries.

Electricity, water and phone service were interrupted, but all had been restored by about 4:45 p.m. Monday, according to the parish's website.

Fifteen classrooms in the adjoining school were damaged by smoke and are for now unusable, and the website said the church will not be able to be used for at least eight weeks. The Community Room will be used for Mass this coming weekend, with the Gathering Place being used if additional space is needed.

Meanwhile, church funerals will be accommodated in the temporary worship space and arrangements elsewhere were made for two weddings planned at St. Alphonsus before Easter.

Helping Greendale firefighters bring the fire under control were fire departments and equipment from Greenfield, Franklin, Hales Corners, South Milwaukee, New Berlin, Tess Corners, Wauwatosa, Cudahy and the 128th Refueling Wing. Saidler estimated a total of 50 firefighters helped control the fire.

St. Alphonsus parish was established in July 1938 and built its first church 12 years later; it celebrated that milestone with a Mass on Easter Sunday that year. Today, the parish has a membership of 2,783 families.