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Fire destroys much of 249-year-old church in California

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jul 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-11 19:57:10-04

SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (AP) — A fire destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of a nearly 250-year-old Catholic church in California. Firefighters responded early Saturday to the historic San Gabriel Mission and saw smoke rising from the wooden rooftop. Officials said firefighters entered the church to beat back the flames, but they had to flee when roofing and other structural materials began to fall. The cause of the fire was under investigation. Fire officials say the recent toppling of monuments to Junipero Serra, the founder of the California mission system who has long been a symbol of oppression among Indigenous activists, will be a factor in the investigation.