Ss. Peter & Paul Church set to re-open after small fire - Republic-Times | News

Ss. Peter & Paul Church set to re-open after small fire

By on August 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm

By TERYN SCHAEFER – For the Republic-Times

Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Waterloo expects to welcome parishioners back into its pews this Saturday evening for the first Mass there since smoke damage forced services to be moved into the nearby school gym.

“I’ve never seen so much cleaning,” said Mike Huebner, director of maintenance at Ss. Peter & Paul.

A company was brought in to do extensive cleaning of the church from floor to ceiling, after a large candle used during special events such as baptisms was left burning on the altar overnight following a July 29 ceremony.

This led to a small fire that caused mostly smoke damage inside the church.

“They’re lucky that fire got itself out when it did,” Waterloo Fire Chief Mark Yeager said following the incident.

His department was called to the church around 6 a.m. on July 30, after Huebner discovered thick smoke inside the church just a few minutes before.

Huebner noticed that the Paschal candle had apparently melted all the way down to the candle stand, dripping wax onto the carpeting below.

The small fire smoldered itself out prior to firefighter arrival, Chief Yeager said, but smoke from the incident left a layer of black soot on pews, banisters and hymnals throughout the interior.

“Everything was black,” said Huebner, adding that the company hired to clean the church had to make multiple washings on the soot-covered items to restore them back to normal.

The Ss. Peter & Paul Church sanctuary, first painted along with the rest of its interior and parsonage back in 1900, was re-painted around 1998 — more than 100 years after the current place of worship was built at 204 West Mill Street in 1883.

New carpeting and flooring was also installed in the church in November 2010, according to the church office.

“If the old carpet would have been in there, the whole church would have burned,” Huebner said.

Thankfully, the church’s newest carpet, which is flame retardant, helped save the church from the candle fire.

The church will re-carpet the steps at the front of the altar to patch where candle wax burned the carpet. In addition to the cleaning of the floors, ceiling, pews, organ and air ducts, the church has also had two large ventilators in the church constantly filtering the air of dust and soot.

Wednesday’s Holy Day Mass will be held in the SPPS school building as scheduled, with plans to move Mass back to Ss. Peter & Paul Church on Saturday,

Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.