Fire damages Church of the Incarnation in Minneapolis, no injuries reported

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The Church of the Incarnation is closed to the public after an early Wednesday morning fire that caused minimal damage, according to church officials.

No injuries or deaths were reported.

Church officials tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it will probably be months before the church opens up to the public again because of cleaning and repairing damage.

The church is holding services across the street in another building for the time being.

The deacon of the church said one of the parishioners spotted the fire while driving to work. 

Mari Cela’s husband was heading to work around 3:30 a.m. when he smelled something burning.

“My husband smelled a lot of smoke and a burnt paper smell,” Mari Cela, church member, said in Spanish. “He saw smoke and flames coming out of the window.”

After circling the area, he realized it was coming from his church. Cela’s husband alerted authorities that there was a fire at the Church of the Incarnation.

Cela said she’s grateful her husband caught it when he did.

“Thank God everyone was fine and there was no human loss,” she said in Spanish.

According to the Minneapolis Fire Department, crews were called to the 3800 block of Pleasant Avenue S. at about 3:42 a.m.

When they arrived, they found fire on the first floor, as well as the roof of the Church of the Incarnation.

After searching all levels for possible victims, the all clear was given and the fire was also put out without any extension to other areas outside of the sanctuary and roof area directly above it.

Authorities are still investigating what caused the fire.

They have not given a dollar estimate for damage as of this time.

Crews had cleared the scene by 6 a.m.

Deacon Carl Valdez said the fire started on the north side of the building. He explained the church lost a few paintings and statues, which are replaceable. He mentioned they’d have to figure out how to replace the stained colored glass.

The church was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The over-a-century-old building is known for its architecture and rich history.

According to the church’s website, the building was built in 1910.

Community members said they’re grateful the church is still standing because it’s a pillar in the community.

“It’s very important to a lot of people. People need this church,” Karen Donnay, church member, said. “This church has a huge heart.”