(ASSOCIATED PRESS) A fire early Saturday destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of a Catholic church in California that was undergoing renovation to mark its upcoming 250th anniversary celebration.
Fire alarms at the San Gabriel Mission rang around 4 a.m., and when firefighters arrived they saw smoke rising from the wooden rooftop in one corner of the historic structure, San Gabriel Fire Capt. Paul Negrete said.
He said firefighters entered the church and tried to beat back the flames, but they had to retreat when roofing and other structural materials began to fall, Negrete said.
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“We were trying to fight it from the inside, we weren’t able to because it became unsafe,” he said.