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Another Ash Wednesday Eve Fire At Colorado's Oldest Church 90 Years Later

CONEJOS, Colo. (CBS4) - Colorado's oldest church had to deal with another fire just as Lent begins.

Fire broke out at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Conejos the day before Ash Wednesday in 1926, and again Tuesday.

Tuesday's fire started in the back of the church. Liturgical coordinator at the church, Paula Espinoza, says fortunately a firefighter driving by saw the smoke and alerted the all-volunteer fire department. They rushed to the scene and contained it quickly, but not before smoke filled the sanctuary.

"It was a blessing that they (firefighters) caught it when they did because it burned so quickly," Espinoza told CBS4.

For now the congregation will celebrate mass at St. Augustine Church in nearby Antonito.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Conejos
(credit: Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Conejos)

Father Sergio Robles took a picture on Wednesday and Espinoza noted, "Look above Our Lady's head, a crown has appeared. Our Lady was watching over her church."

Espinosa told CBS4 parishioners were able to save valuables in the church, and that the community is pulling together to help. She's heard it was an electrical fire.

The CBI is also investigating.


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