Fast acting residents of the Holy Family parish in Drogheda were quick to raise the alarm may have had saved the church from being completely destroyed.
Fire fighters got to the scene just as the flames spread to the roof of the church and managed to bring it under control.
While Gardaí were examining the scene, it is believed that the blaze was caused by Christmas tree lights.
The fire actually began just after 10:00am Mass had finished and it was spotted initially by a 11-year-old girl who spotted the smoke coming from the church from her bedroom window.
According to the Drogheda Independent newspaper, the fire broke out shortly after 11:00am last Sunday morning a short time after mass goers had left the church.
Nearby residents who spotted smoke coming from the top of the church raised the alarm and ran inside in a desperate bid to tackle the fire.
They were beaten back by the thick smoke and intense heat as the blaze spread from the tree to the roof of the building.
The heat of the blaze blew out some of the windows in the church before it was tackled by fire fighters. The organ was completely destroyed and substantial heat and smoke damage occurred to other parts of the church. The roof was also damaged.
Speaking this week Parish Priest Fr. Patrick Keary said that they were very lucky the fire had been spotted so quickly.
“If this had happened at night the whole church would have gone up.”
The church was built in 1973.
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