MARLBORO (CBS) – Two priests battled a fire Sunday night in an attempt to save their church.

Fathers Steven Clemence and Andrea Filippuccei were watching the Patriots game when they received a call from the Immaculate Conception Church’s alarm company. Thinking it could be a mistake or stray animal, the two went to investigate and found the upper sacristy in flames.

The priests tried to enter the room for eight minutes, but were overcome by heat and smoke. As they left the church, they were met by the fire deparment.

Firefighters in Marlboro battled cold and ice as well as fire trying to save the Prospect Street church.

The Marlboro Fire Department said that pumps and hose lines turned to ice, making battling the fire more difficult. However, firefighters were able to stop the fire before it reached the roof of the church.

One firefighter was treated for a hand injury and released. No one else was injured.


Although the fire was contained to the upper sacristy, the main body of the church sustained smoke and water damage. Total damages are estimated to be about $100,000.

“We are thankful for the great work of the fire departments of Marlboro, Hudson and Northboro,” said Father Steven Clemence, of Immaculate Conception Church, in a statement. “Please keep our community in your prayers, and soon we will have more information.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley has called with condolences.

The Marlboro Fire Department said the cause of the fire is under investigation by Marlboro arson investigators, the state fire marshal and police. Clemence said that he believed foul play had been ruled out.


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