Sioux Falls church fire likely started by candle

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - UPDATE: Investigators believe a fire at a historic Sioux Falls church was likely accidentally started by a candle.

Photo courtesy Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

The fire broke out at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Father Kristopher Cowles tells KSFY News police believe a votive candle left at the Virgin Mary shrine started the fire.

The flames climbed the wall up to the ceiling, and eventually caught the insulation on fire. The fire scorched a large portion of the interior of the 90-year-old church.

Once firefighters arrived, they were able to get the flames under control within a few minutes. However, they had to remain on the scene for several hours to monitor flare ups.

No one was hurt in the fire.

It is common practice in many Catholic churches to light prayer candles, like the one believed to have started Wednesday's fire. A post on Our Lady of Guadalupe's Facebook page made it clear this was a mistake.

"As to how the fire began, it was more than likely someone who placed a personal votive candle in front of the virgin that started the fire," the post said. "Whoever it was, you are already forgiven. God's mercy is available to all, especially in regards to accidents."

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Original story:

Crews are on the scene of a fire at a Catholic church in northeast Sioux Falls.

The fire broke out on the main floor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. Smoke could be seen coming from the roof.

Crews knocked down the fire in about five minutes.

Authorities blocked off 8th Street and Sherman Avenue to give crews room to work. They ask drivers to continue to avoid the area as they clean up.

The fire did not affect the school.

One bystander told KSFY News it is sad to see a historic building burning.

This is a developing story.




Photo courtesy Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church