Fire Department Battles Blaze at South Boston Church

The five-alarm fire called for a 'collapse zone' to keep first responders safe.
Photo via @BostonFire

Photo via @BostonFire

Boston firefighters are battling a blaze at a church in South Boston that has lead to the roof collapsing.

Officials were called to St. John the Baptist Church, an Albanian Orthodox church, on the 400 block of Broadway in South Boston, around 9 a.m., after reports of heavy smoke billowing from the building, according to Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the fire department.

MacDonald said via Twitter from the scene of the fire that the blaze started as a two-alarm fire, but quickly became a four-alarm fire shortly after emergency responders got to the scene. It later became a five-alarm fire as the blaze spread throughout the structure.

The heavy fire was in the rectory and connected church at the rear of the building, he said. The fire caused the interior ceiling to start collapsing, forcing firefighters out of the building so that they had to work off of ladders and concentrate on putting out the flames from the exterior. “Church fires can be extremely dangerous due to building structure. Roof collapse [is] always a very real possibility,” he said.

MacDonald said as many as 90 firefighters responded, and six of them were hurt due to the heavy flames coming from the building.

By 10:30 a.m., the fire was reportedly coming through the roof. Damages to the building are estimated at $1 million. “It will be a while if [and] when Boston fire investigators can get inside to look for a cause and point of origin,” MacDonald said.

Boston will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. For more from the scene, follow @BostonFire for live tweets of the blaze.

Photo via @BostonFire

Photo via @BostonFire


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine