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Smoke Forces Funeral to Evacuate Church

The source of the smoke was found to be an electrical motor that provides air to the church's pipe organ.

Salem firefighters were called to St. Joseph Church around 11:20 a.m. Friday for a smoke condition inside the building.

The call was initially reported as a working fire at the church at 40 Main St., but Salem Fire Marshal Jeffrey Emanuelson said the department only called for a working fire in order to call in additional resources and mutual aid. Upon arrival, firefighters isolated the smoke condition to an old electrical motor that provides air to the church's pipe organ.

"There was a full funeral in progress," Emanuelson said. "Nobody was injured, and we safely evacuated everyone out of the building."

He said the evacuation took about 5 to 10 minutes.

"We're going to work with the electrical inspector and their electrician to try to get power restored to the building," Emanuelson said.

A Methuen, Mass. ladder and engine and a Windham engine responded to the scene, and the Pelham and Derry fire departments provided station coverage for Salem.

Patriot January 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Thank God!

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