- Department of Fire Services
Media Contact for Lawrence Rectory Fire Electrical
Jennifer Mieth, Public Information Officer
LAWRENCE — Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, Lawrence Fire Chief Brian F. Moriarty, Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said the cause of the fire at the Corpus Christi Parish Rectory was electrical. The 4-alarm fire broke out shortly before 6 p.m on February 22, 2021 at 35 Essex Street in Lawrence. One pastor inside the rectory at the time was able to escape safely. Damages are estimated at $1.5 million.
Investigators determined that the fire started in a void space in the first floor ceiling. The only heat source was an electrical cable.
The fire was jointly investigated by members of the Lawrence Fire Department, Lawrence Police detectives, and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said, “First, I would like to thank Fire Chief Moriarty and the rest of the fire department. The church is still standing because of their quick and diligent efforts to control the fire and keep it from spreading. Houses of worship like the Corpus Christi Parish at Holy Rosary Church are pillars of our community. Many greater Lawrence area residents have been hit hard by this fire and my heart goes out them.”
Chief Moriarty said, “Our goal was to save the church and we were able to do that.”
Chief Vasque said, “I commend the hardworking men and women of the Lawrence Fire Department and the mutual aid departments for saving this beautiful and historic Church.”
Fire officials recommend having a licensed electrician review your home’s electrical system every ten years. Small upgrades and safety checks can prevent larger problems.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Electrical fires often start in hidden areas inside walls and ceilings, but it is important to know the signs of trouble.” Firefighters can use thermal imaging technology to see excessive heat inside the walls.
Call the fire department immediately if you have any of these warning signs:
- Arcs, sparks or short circuits;
- Sizzling or buzzing sound;
- Odors, vague smell of something burning.
Call a professional electrician soon if you have any of these warning signs:
- Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers;
- Dim or flickering lights, bulbs that wear out too fast;
- Overheated plugs, cords or switches;
- Shock or mild tingle – more than normal static electricity;
- Loose plugs; or
- Unusually warm or faulty outlets or switches.
For more information on electrical fire safety, visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/electrical-fire-safety .