2 Houston-area churches, including Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, damaged in separate fires

Chaz Miller Image
Saturday, June 3, 2023
Fire impacts downtown Catholic church's weekend masses
The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart wasn't the only place of worship impacted by a fire. Out in Dickinson, crews fought flames in a separate incident Friday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Firefighters had quite the busy Friday morning in the Houston area as different departments battled church fires.

SkyEye video shows Dickinson firefighters battling a fire at about 6:30 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church on 800 FM-517.

Most of the roof was completely gone, and because there was no wind, the smoke was shooting up.

The Dickinson Fire Department asked for assistance from League City, Sante Fe, and San Leon fire departments.

Earlier in the morning, Houston firefighters were called to the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown, the department said.

The Houston Fire Department received the call at about 5:30 a.m. regarding a two-alarm fire, which normally calls for more trucks, firefighters, and equipment like oxygen tanks.

Senior Capt. Eduardo Cruz with Ladder 7 said the fire seems to have started in the second floor toward the rear of the church in an electrical room.

"Seems to be minor. Some smoke damage in there, some water damage. We'll help clean up before we leave," he said.

Firefighters added they had problems removing the smoke because they couldn't find any roof access, so fans were used to push it out.

A maintenance worker at the co-cathedral told ABC13 they were patching holes on the roof Friday afternoon as a result of firefighters cutting them so smoke could exit the building.

The disaster took place on the first Friday of the month, which is a day Catholics would normally come to the cathedral for mass and confession, but those were canceled as a result of the fire.

"My immediate reaction was shock," attendee Claudio Gutierrez said. "It's very unfortunate that this happened on the first Friday."

Clara Gutierrez clung to her faith when she was told the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart experienced a fire.

"I know Jesus allows everything that happens," she said. "For some reason, he allowed this fire to happen today."

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston sent out a statement saying all services this weekend will take place as scheduled.

"The clean-up process is already underway, and we still plan to celebrate the Ordination to the Priesthood for Deacon Matthew Krusleski, Deacon Zachary Muldrow, and Deacon J Serrato on Saturday afternoon," the archdiocese wrote in a statement. "All weekend masses will be celebrated as planned."

SkyEye video shows no active flames or smoke but firefighters were seen entering the church at 1115 St. Joseph Parkway.

There were no injuries to firefighters or residents, according to an HFD tweet.

The Co-Cathedral moved into this building in 2008, which is when The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston revealed the entire list of relics that are forever placed in a space under its altar.

Among them is the last sizable piece of what's called the "true cross," all the way from Rome. It's a piece of the actual cross on which Catholics believe Jesus was crucified.

Cardinal John Foley, a Vatican expert, explained that the relics are carefully distributed. Remains of nine saints, including American Elizabeth Ann Seton and Leo the Great, help fill the space.

The old building that housed the co-cathedral is currently being torn down across the street from the present facility.


Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart hosts church service is multiple languages

Relics of the co-cathedral

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