Melrose Church Fire Damage Could Reach $1 Million

June 20, 2018 09:43 AM

Damage to a Melrose church could reach $1 million, the Melrose fire chief said Saturday.

The fire was reported at 4:43 p.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 203 Fifth Ave SE in Melrose, Chief Jeremy Kraemer said.


"It's a big loss, because it's their church for many years," said Brother Jose Valazquez. "it's hard seeing people crying-wondering what will happen."

While fire crews worked to put out the flames at St. Mary's Catholic Church Friday evening in Melrose Cassie Kociemba got a heartbreaking phone call back in Wayzata.

"I grew up in that church, so that church means so much to my family," Kociemba said.

The church built in the 1890s is where Kociemba planned to marry her fiancé, Michael Gruber, in a matter of months.

"For me it's important to be married in the church that I grew up in," said Kociemba.

The church is also where her sister was married and her father, Ernie, is deacon.

"There was no “plan B” now we're going to have to figure out a new avenue," Kociemba said.

Fire crews told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that 30 percent of the church suffered flame damage while more damage occurred from smoke and water in other parts of the building.

The Minnesota Fire Marshal is working with local authorities to determine the cause of the fire.

Federal agents have also be contacted. That is standard when a religious building is involved.

Melrose is about 100 miles northwest of the Twin Cities on Interstate 94.


Dave Aeikens & Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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