November 30, 2018

Fire destroys St. Mary Catholic Church in Carteret, N.J.


PARSIPPANY, N.J. – A three-alarm fire on November 27 destroyed St. Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carteret, N.J. The 64-year-old church, located on Roosevelt Avenue, was deemed a “total loss” by the Carteret Fire Department on its Facebook page. 

The cause of the fire, which began around 10:30 p.m. and was under control approximately within an hour, remains under investigation (with assistance from the Carteret Fire Department, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Arson investigators and Middlesex County Fire Marshal). No one was injured as a result of the fire, and no one was inside the church at the time. Sixty to 70 firefighters from area fire companies (Carteret, Hopelawn, Perth Amboy, Sayerville, Colonia and Edison) responded to the blaze.

This church building was opened in 1954 and is part of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The parish community dates from 1949, with many Ukrainian immigrants settling there since the late 19th century.

“This beautiful historic structure is part of Carteret history, and we are praying for the parishioners of this fine church and hoping for the best,” Mayor Dan Reiman told “It’s a substantial loss. There is significant damage to everything inside,” he said, adding he hopes the brick and mortar structures can be salvaged. 

Carteret Fire Chief Mark Hruska said: “It’s got substantial damage throughout the building. There was heavy fire damage in the sanctuary and also in the church itself. There was structural damage to the first floor. The first floor burned through and also substantial damage to the roof structure.” 

Chief Hruska said the building would need to be gutted, but the structure’s brick construction could likely be saved. “The fire went undetected for a period of time, which contributed to the severity of it. As with most of the old churches, there was no detection. The fire was not detected or found out until the fire actually broke out the window,” he told

Donations can be sent to St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church building fund, 719 Roosevelt Ave., Carteret, NJ 07008 or to the nonprofit Charity Trust Fund, Carteret Borough Hall, 61 Cooke Ave., Carteret, NJ 07008.