Catholic Church suffers extensive damage from overnight fire in Lyndonville

Provided photo: Flames shoot out of the rear side of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at about 4 a.m. today in Lyndonville.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2023 at 9:21 am

LYNDONVILLE – St. Joseph’s Catholic Church suffered extensive damage in a fire last night.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 3:41 a.m. after a motorist on Route 63 saw flames coming from the building at 36 Lake Ave.

The fire likely started in the rear of the building, where the church was heavily damaged. Fire investigators are on the scene this morning trying to determine the cause.

“It’s devastating,” said long-time church member Gary Daum. “There is so much damage. The walls are peeled. The back end is gone.”

Photo by Tom Rivers: Firefighters are on the back side of the church this morning. They worked to open roof hatches and put out any smoldering fires in the walls.

Daum said officials from the Western New York Diocese will be on scene today to assess the damage and determine the next steps for the congregation, which is part of the Our Lady of Lake Parish with a church in Barker.

The fire could have been much worse, taking the whole building if it wasn’t from a quick response from local firefighters, said Dave Hydock, a deputy fire coordinator with the county and 45-year member of the Lyndonville Fire Department.

He said there were 15 to 20 Lyndonville firefighters on the scene within 20 minutes of the call, and then crews soon followed from Medina, Shelby and Ridgeway. Albion and Carlton also joined in keeping the fire from totally engulfing the church. Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 35 minutes, Hydock said.

“In another 10 or 15 minutes this would have been like a barn fire,” Hydock said this morning at the scene. “In all my years as a fire coordinator this was a very good stop in a large building.”

Hydock has been a fire coordinator for 19 years. He praised the firefighters for responding so fast after being awakened from sleep to fight the fire.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was built in 1917 as a mission church under St. Mary’s in Medina.

Provided photo: The fire in the back of the church can be seen in this photo taken that shows the front.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Firefighters were able to keep the blaze from totally destroying the church on Lake Avenue.