MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Repairing and restoring Incarnation Catholic Church in south Minneapolis will likely take upwards of six months, but church leaders say they're committed to the process.
The historic church was built at its location on Pleasant Avenue in 1909 by French architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, who also designed the St. Paul Cathedral and Minneapolis Basilica.
Early Wednesday morning, fire crews battled a blaze inside the church's main sanctuary after a parishioner spotted the fire during their morning commute.
"4:22 Wednesday morning I got the call from dispatch," said Deacon Carl Valdez, who has spent the last 13 years working with the church. "The first sense was smoke... it's covered every square inch of this place."
While investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire, Valdez suspects it started in an area designed to light candles as an offering.
"I don't know if the (candle) glass broke or if it was not housed in glass," Valdez said.
The fire damaged the church's side roof, which will need to be replaced, Valdez said. In addition, fire crew's attempts to put out the fire left the church basement water damaged.
Repairing the church will require removing everything inside of it – pews, organ pipes and all, before completing a restoration process and returning things to their original place.
In the meantime, Valdez is committed to hosting Lenten Friday services online, while Sunday services will likely take place at the school across the street from the church, before moving to the church basement.
"Our faith says we're united," Valdez said. "Let's make this place better than it was."
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