Northfield chapel fire results in minimal damage


Staff Writer

Published: 04-09-2023 2:11 PM

NORTHFIELD — A small fire inside the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College on Sunday caused “very little loss in the room,” according to Deputy Fire Chief David Quinn Jr.

Quinn said his department was dispatched at roughly 7:51 a.m. to the fire, which was discovered by the priest in the sacristy next to the altar. Between the priest’s use of a fire extinguisher to slow the fire’s spread and the quick work of responding firefighters, the fire was contained to the room of origin and deemed “under control” shortly after 9 a.m., the deputy chief recapped.

“We pretty much got to it in a hurry, so compared to what it could have been, the damage is minimal,” said Quinn, who noted that the priest’s efforts “helped a great deal.”

The interior walls and floors were damaged by the blaze, but not heavily enough to necessitate major repairs or render the space unusable for long, Quinn said. Nobody was injured or trapped by the fire.

Firefighters from Northfield, Bernardston, Turners Falls, Greenfield and Hinsdale, New Hampshire responded. Gill Fire Department provided station coverage.

While the fire is “absolutely not suspicious,” the exact cause remains under investigation, Quinn said. He noted that a representative of the State Fire Marshal’s Office came to investigate shortly after the fire was extinguished .

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or


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