Home News Man charged with arson in San Gabriel Mission fireplace

Man charged with arson in San Gabriel Mission fireplace

A 57-year-old man has been charged with arson in a hearth that tore via the historic San Gabriel Mission final summer time.

John David Corey faces two felony counts of arson on an inhabited construction and one rely every of arson throughout a state of emergency, first-degree residential housebreaking and possession of flammable materials, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón introduced in a information launch Tuesday.

A date for Corey’s arraignment has not but been set. The fireplace brought on extreme injury to the roof and inside of the landmark 249-year-old construction.

San Gabriel Hearth Division officers, the Verdugo Hearth Activity Drive and the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese scheduled a information convention later Tuesday afternoon.

The fireplace was reported before dawn on July 11 and finally change into a four-alarm occasion that concerned 80 firefighters from seven cities. Responders needed to exit the adobe-and-wood construction solely about quarter-hour after getting into, when components of the roof started to collapse, however extinguished the blaze in about 2½ hours. No firefighters had been injured.

Preliminary investigations did not indicate arson.

Whereas the altar, bell tower and a number of other non secular artifacts had been spared, the roof was destroyed, as had been lots of the 107-year-old pews that had simply been refurbished.

Restoration of the mission will include the removal of steel beams, initially inserted within the Nineteen Nineties as a part of an earthquake retrofit, that had been warped throughout the fireplace.

A brief roof of wooden and a water-proof membrane was put in in late November.

For days after the fireplace, grief-stricken parishioners stopped by the mission car parking zone to cry, pray and reminisce.

“The San Gabriel Mission is a kind of locations that was a gathering place for folks of all faiths right here in San Gabriel,” stated Denise Menchaca, a parishioner who was mayor on the time and remains to be on the Metropolis Council.

Menchaca stated the timing of the fireplace made coping with the shock and grief it brought on notably tough, with COVID-19 limiting in-person gatherings and a few parishioners’ emotions nonetheless uncooked in regards to the police killing of George Floyd.

“This was like our Notre Dame burning,” Menchaca stated, referencing the 2019 fire at the Paris cathedral.

The alleged arson is one of some that has focused Catholic church buildings over the past decade, together with fires at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights in 2018 and St. John Vianney in Hacienda Heights in 2011.

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