Officials say they do not suspect arson was the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a 117-year-old church in Sioux City.
The fire at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was reported at about 3:15 on Friday afternoon and Joe Rodriguez, public information officer for Sioux City Fire Rescue, says fire fighters were on the scene until they were sure the fire was out.
"We were there pretty much throughout the night," Rodriguez says. "I think the fire was extinguished at…about seven o’clock that evening, but our crews stayed on for the remainder of the evening to make sure there weren’t any rekindles or hot spots throughout the building."
A damage estimate is not yet available.
"We’re waiting for some investigators representing the insurance companies to conduct on-scene investigations once the structural integrity of the building has been determined safe by the experts," Rodriguez says.
The church’s new roof was severely damaged, according to Rodriguez. The main worship area and there altar were damaged by water, too, but the stained glass windows and statutes inside the structure were saved.
Rodriguez says initial indicators lead investigators to believe the fire began by accident.