‘We can do it’: Church leaders vow to rebuild after fire damages historic structure in south Minneapolis – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Repairing and restoring the Incarnation Catholic Church in south Minneapolis will likely take more than six months, but church leaders say they are committed to the process.

The historic church was built in its location on Pleasant Avenue in 1909 by French architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Minneapolis Basilica.

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Early Wednesday morning, fire crews battled a blaze inside the church’s main sanctuary after a parishioner spotted the blaze during their morning drive.

“Wednesday morning at 4:22 a.m. I got the dispatch call,” said Deacon Carl Valdez, who has spent the past 13 years working with the church. “The first feeling was the smoke…it 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.

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“I don’t know if the glass (of the candle) broke or if it wasn’t lodged in glass,” Valdez said.

The fire damaged the side roof of the church, which will need to be replaced, Valdez said. Additionally, firefighters’ attempts to extinguish the blaze damaged the basement of the church.

Repairing the church will require removing everything inside – pews, organ pipes and all, before completing a restoration process and putting things back in their original places.

In the meantime, Valdez has pledged to host Lenten Friday services online, while Sunday services will likely take place at the school opposite the church, before moving to the church’s basement. .

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“Our faith says we are united,” Valdez said. “Let’s make this place better than it was.”

Martha J. Finley