St. Joseph Catholic Church in Phoenix destroyed by fire, cause unknown

Phoenix, Ariz., May 1, 2019 / 02:59 pm (CNA).- An extensive fire destroyed St. Joseph Catholic Church in north Phoenix during the early morning hours of May 1. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

No one was injured in the blaze, which began sometime after midnight and was not fully extinguished until after 6 a.m., ABC 15 Arizona reported.

“This morning we awoke to the tragic news of the fire at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Phoenix,” said the Diocese of Phoenix in a May 1 statement.

“We are heartbroken for the St. Joseph Catholic community and we are grateful for the bravery of the fire fighters and first responders.”

More than 60 firefighters were dispatched shortly after flames sprouted from inside the church.

According to AZ Family, Fire Captain Danny Gile said the firefighters realized they were going to be unable to save the building, and switched their focus to stopping the spread of the fire and saving the surrounding buildings.

“We never want to lose these buildings, especially a church,” said Gile. “They are such a beacon of hope for our community.”

“The Phoenix Fire Department is investigating the fire. The church building was destroyed and there were no injuries. We will have more to share as it becomes available,” the diocese said. It noted that there are tentative plans to celebrate this weekend’s Masses somewhere on parish property.

“Today on this feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, we ask the community to join us in prayer,” its statement concluded.

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