Priest Seriously Burned in Church Rectory Fire
UPDATE: Sadly, Fr James Reilly has died.
The pastor of a Catholic parish in Palisades Park northern New Jersey was taken to the hospital early Saturday morning after suffering burns from a fire at the church rectory, church officials said this morning.
Rev. James Reilly, a long-time pastor at St. Michael’s Church in Palisades Park is currently hospitalized following an overnight fire in the rectory.
Scene of Palisades Park fire in rectory building of St. Michaels’ Church which seriously injured Father James Reilly.
The Rev. James Reilly, a long-time pastor at St. Michael’s Church on East Central Boulevard was asleep when the fire broke out in his room around 1 a.m. this morning, said Rev. Steven Connor, dean over the parish.
He said Reilly, who is in his early 70s and has health issues, lives at the rectory next door with two other adjunct priests. One of the priests was awoken by the fire alarm and ran to Reilly’s door to get him out.
The door was locked so he called 911 and got the other priest out from his room, said Connor.
He said Reilly was taken to a local hospital with burns over 40 percent of his body, and that he was resuscitated during the rescue. He was taken to Saint Barnabus Medical Center in Livingston.
“He is very critical,” said Connor.
Parishioners attending morning mass were upset by the news, Connor said.
“They were all in shock and some were crying,” he said.