Fire at historic Massillon church damages room that holds national shrine, official says

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MASSILLON, Ohio– A fire at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Massillon damaged a room inside the historic church that houses a national shrine, according to Sr. Kathy Longheier. The baptistry, where baptisms are held, houses St. Dymphna and Sr. Longheier also said about 300 electric candles are stored in that room.

Massillon Fire Chief Tom Burgasser said the fire was reported at just after noon at the church located at 206 Cherry Rd. N.E.

Smoke could be seen from about one mile away. The pastor of the church, Fr. Ed Gretchko, said he called 911 after spotting smoke. He told our Dave Nethers it smelled like wood was burning.

No one was in the church at the time, and no injuries were reported. Chief Burgasser said there was the threat of a collapse due to the age of the building.

The church was dedicated back in 1892, according to its website.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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