April 12. JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The cause of the fire that destroyed the Clair Memorial United Methodist Church in Jersey City, New Jersey, on April 10 is still under investigation. Officials say it is too soon to tell if arson was involved.
The fire in the 80-year-old church was first discovered at about 5:30 a.m. It rapidly progressed to four alarms and spread to an adjacent apartment building, leaving some families homeless. Funeral services for Joseph �Jack� Martinez, a member of the church community, was to have been buried from there on Tuesday morning. His wake was at the church the night before. First-arriving firefighters removed the casket from the church through a rear door and returned it to the funeral home.
About 75 firefighters and 25 fire apparatus responded. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.
(Source: The Record, Apr. 11, 2001, A1,A8.)