San Gabriel Mission church fire broke out to burn down the roof and much of the interior.
A massive fire ripped into the 249-year-old San Gabriel Mission early Saturday. The fire incident destroyed the roof of the church and much of its interior, authorities reported.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Capt. Antonio Negrete, public information officer for the San Gabriel Fire Department.
“The roof of the mission is completely gone and the interior up to the altar is completely destroyed,” Negrete said. The bell tower and museum remained intact, he said.
Authorities did not mention a cause on what let to the blaze.
The San Gabriel Fire Department responded to a call on the fire at about 4:30 a.m. When arrived at the scene, they noticed the flames through the roof, Capt. Paul Negrete said.
The crews called for additional units after about 5 minutes, Negrete maintained. Some 50 firefighters responded to the fire spot, according to the captain.
San Gabriel Mission church fire led to the destruction
After about 15 minutes, parts of the structure started to collapse on fire crews and they decided to get out of the building and move to a defensive attack, battling the fire from outside.
The fire was ultimately called to four alarms. Damage to the building was distinguishably extensive, however, no injuries due to the fire reported.
The crews were able to knock down the San Gabriel Mission church fire at 6:48 a.m.
“We’re going to have building engineers come in and see if we can shore up some walls to make it as safe as possible for the investigators to go in and start investigating this fire,” Negrete stated.
The mission was founded by Franciscan Father Junipero Serra in 1771.