Northborough church begins to rebuild following fire


Northborough church begins to rebuild following fire
A fire early on Tuesday, April 9, caused about $175,000 in damages to the Church of the Nativity in Northborough. (Photo/Courtesy Church of the Nativity)

NORTHBOROUGH – On the outside, the Church of the Nativity on Howard Street looks the same – except for the caution tape around the main entrances, the dark streaks on the roof and the smell of smoke that still hangs in the air.

Early on Tuesday, April 9, an electrical fire broke out in the church’s nave. Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire, but it took several days to assess the extent of the damage.

“The nave was singed, the kneelers were burned, the wood … there was heavy smoke and water damage,” said the Rev. Meghan Mantler, the deacon-in-charge. “We are thankful that no one was hurt.”

“We are blessed that our stained-glass windows weren’t damaged,” said Senior Warden Deborah Hesek. “It was quite an intense fire – the paint melted off the pews.”

Hesek showed some photos of the sacristy, where vestments, candles and other items are kept. Those items were destroyed, along with $2,000 worth of flowers that decorated the church for the Easter season.

Overall, the fire caused $175,000 in damage.

The service on Sunday, April 14, went on as scheduled in a tent just outside the church. St. Stephen’s in Westborough gave the Northborough church Communion cups and plates, while All Saints in Worcester delivered a pascal candle.

Mantler said the first priority is to get the church’s preschool up and running. The area sustained mostly water damage, and remediation is under way.

She hopes to have services back inside in the church hall within the next week or two.

Mantler has more than a church to restore. In a few weeks, she will be ordained into the Episcopal priesthood. She hopes the ceremony can be held at the Church of the Nativity, where she will continue to serve.

“I’ve been through Hurricane Katrina,” said Mantler, who also has a background in social work. “We know how to rebuild.”

Insurance will cover most of the damage. For those items that insurance won’t cover, the church has established a restoration fund. Donations may be sent to the church, 45 Howard St., Northborough, MA 01532; write “restoration fund” on the memo line.

For information on the Church of the Nativity, visit

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