Fire Badly Damages San Gabriel Mission in California

by 24USATVJuly 12, 2020, 5:40 a.m. 26
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A fire early on Saturday morning destroyed the roof and badly damaged the interior of San Gabriel Mission, a Catholic church in California that is more than 200 years old and considered to be the “birthplace” of the Los Angeles region.

The mission was founded in 1771 by the Franciscan fathers under the leadership of the Rev. Junipero Serra, a Spanish priest who helped colonize California. Construction of the church started in 1775 and ended in 1805, said Terri Huerta, director of development and communications at the mission.

Ms. Huerta said the fire broke out one day after $200,000 in renovations had been completed. The walls had just been painted and the pews, which are more than 110 years old, had been refurbished.

“For one day, it was beautiful,” Ms. Huerta said.

The mission, which had been closed because of the pandemic, planned to resume services next week. “It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

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