Ottawa

Fire destroys Catholic church in St-Isidore, Ont.

Several hundred residents in the eastern Ontario town of St-Isidore were forced from their neighbourhood Saturday as a massive fire destroyed the community's Catholic church.

Cause of fire remains under investigation

Fire destroyed the Catholic church in the small eastern Ontario community of St-Isidore on July 23, 2016. (Courtesy of Jean-Francois Mailhot)

Several hundred residents in the eastern Ontario town of St-Isidore were forced from their neighbourhood Saturday as a massive fire destroyed the community's Catholic church.

According to witnesses, the fire broke out Saturday afternoon and quickly grew.

Firefighters erected a large security perimeter around the church. At about 6 p.m., the church tower collapsed.

'Part of their soul'

Terrence Prendergast, archbishop of the Ottawa Diocese, said many local residents were baptised, confirmed and married in the church.

Its loss, he said, would be felt strongly in the "thinly populated" region.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of the Ottawa Diocese says the destruction of the church in St-Isidore, Ont., will be felt strongly among the town's residents. (CBC)

"It's part of their soul, isn't it? It's part of their memories, part of their life of faith," Prendergast said. "The church is an important part of the fabric of the society." 

For now, churchgoers may decide to attend masses in nearby Fournier, Ont., said Prendergast, or hold their own services in the local school.

​The cause of the fire remains unknown. St-Isidore is about 75 kilometres east of Ottawa.

Smoke rises from the remains of the Catholic church in St-Isidore after a fire engulfed the building. (Courtesy of Jean-Francois Mailhot)

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