Fire destroys Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights

Fire destroyed a Catholic church in Hacienda Heights early Saturday morning, causing an estimated $8 million damage.

The 12:04 a.m. blaze at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road, burned for about 2 1/2 hours before county fire crews were able to quench it, dispatcher Bernard Peters said.

The cause of fire is under investigation, but may be related to ongoing construction at the church.

A priest was treated at the scene, but is believed to be OK.

Peters said firefighters, who were unable to enter the church, used a "surround and drown" approach.

"It was a defensive fire, so they fought it from the outside," he said.

"No one went inside. It (the church) was totally engulfed."

The blaze was declared out at 2:34 a.m.

Sheriff's Lt. Joe Chavez of the Industry Station estimated damage at $8 million.

Anyone with more information was urged to call sheriff's arson investigators at (323) 881-7500.

Tips can be left anonymously by texting TIPLA, plus the information, to 274637, or via the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.org.

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