3-alarm blaze engulfs church hours before firefighter’s wedding there

WAREHAM, Mass. — A church that a firefighter was supposed to be married in burst into flames hours before the ceremony.

The historic 78-year-old St. Patrick’s Church in Wareham, Mass. closed after a three-alarm fire caused $500,000 in damage.

“When the first company arrived, he had smoke coming from the roof of the building,” said Patrick Haskell, Wareham Fire Department assistant chief.

As the fire grew, firefighters from other towns responded. Onset, Mass. firefighter Conrad Fernandes didn’t just have his station calling him. His fiancee was calling as well.

The church on fire was the church that was supposed to host the couple’s wedding Saturday, Sept. 22.

“I just figured it was a false alarm and they got there, and they said there was an active fire and we all just started screaming,” said DaLiza Fernandes.

“My guys were being called out, and I was literally on the phone with DaLiza and my phone started going off because I’m not responding to my phone,” said Conrad Fernandes.

Conrad Fernandes and his groomsmen started calling other Catholic churches in search of a new venue. The couple ultimately moved the wedding to a church in Dartmouth, Mass.

The couple said the ceremony was beautiful, thanks to a family friend who jumped in to help.

“I can definitely smile about it and think that it’s crazy, but maybe in 25 years or maybe 10 years — maybe even tomorrow I’ll laugh about it, but I’m still in shock because it’s definitely blowing my mind,” said Conrad Fernandes.

“First thing he said was, ‘it doesn’t matter. We’re getting married tomorrow. We’ll find anywhere. It doesn’t matter where. You’ll be Mrs. Fernandez tomorrow,’ and so that kind of helped me a lot,” said DaLiza Fernandes.

The couple said the fire was even more upsetting because they are both parishioners and Catechism teachers at St. Patrick’s.