North Haledon school chapel destroyed by fire

Posted: Updated:
NORTH HALEDON -

A chapel at a Catholic school in Passaic County was destroyed by an overnight fire. 

The Mary Help of Christians Academy site in North Haledon has a rich history going back nearly 100 years -- it's been used as an orphanage and boarding school, and now serves as a high school. Its chapel, which had undergone renovations just two years ago, broke out in flames overnight.

Police awoke the nuns who were sleeping next door around 1:30 a.m.

“To know our chapel had been incinerated in just a matter of hours is just horrible for all of us," says Sister Mary Rinaldi, of Mary Help of Christians Academy.

A total of $1 million had been raised to renovate the church a few years ago, and back then its biggest problem was a leaky roof. It was a spot where students came together for ceremonies and events, and where graduation was set to be held in just two weeks.

The fire didn’t spread beyond the chapel and the school still held class Friday.

The North Haledon fire chief says the cause remains under investigation but it does not appear to be suspicious.

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