ELLWOOD CITY (KDKA) — A church in Ellwood City opened its doors this weekend to the parishioners of the Queen of Heaven Roman Catholic Church following a fire at the sanctuary last week in Beaver County.
With their church temporarily closed by a fire, members of Queen of Heaven Church in Koppel traveled to nearby Ellwood City for a Mass at the Holy Redeemer Church. It was there that their spirits were uplifted by some good news.
“They said three or four weeks we should be able to get back in our church,” said parishioner Mary Jo Sobona.
“I’m happy with the way things are turning out; I expected a lot worse,” added Vita Prince, another parishioner.
On Friday, a fire broke out in the Queen of Heaven Church on Sixth Street. It took firefighters about an hour to get it under control.
Authorities said that the blaze was contained to an office area, a storage room and some Sunday school classrooms. But the sanctuary had minor smoke and water damage.
“Those flames were horrible coming out of the church, horrible that day,” said parishioner Madeline Pagani.
Since then, workers have been removing debris and cleaning the interior. The building is considered structurally sound.
It must still undergo an inspection, but Koppel Fire Chief Andy Randza believes things will return to normal.
“Definitely, I would say within a month, maybe this portion of the church longer; but definitely, the sanctuary portion of the church, I would say within a month they should be able to have services,” said Chief Randza.
Even though members will use other locations for Mass in the coming weeks, they know that one day they’ll return to their church. Meanwhile, they are thankful that the church’s stained glass windows won’t have to be replaced.
“We thank God for all his blessings and we’re still all together,” said Norberta Modliszewski, a parishioner. “Everybody’s fine and we have our church and we just trust in the Lord.”
According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, daily Masses for Queen of Heaven parishioners will be held in the church’s rectory beginning on Tuesday, and next Sunday’s Mass will be held at the Koppel Volunteer Fire Department’s social hall.