WESTPHALIA, Texas — A more than 100-year-old catholic parish caught fire in Westphalia Monday.
The Westphalia Volunteer Fire Department, Marlin, Troy, Temple, and Rogers fire departments were working to put out the fire, cool down hot spots and to protect a house on the property of the Church of Visitation at 144 County Road 3000.
The fire started just before 8 a.m. and began in the south tower.
The church was a total loss.
According to the website, the church was established in the late 1700s. The Westphalia edifice was built in 1884. On December 31, 1978, the historic church, one of the largest wooden churches in Texas, received official recognition with the erection of a Texas Historical Marker.
"It probably took about 45 minutes for the structure, and It was gone at that point," Falls County constable Jerry Loden said.
Almost 250 families heard the news that their place of worship was destroyed.
"This community was getting ready to celebrate its 125th anniversary," Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin said. "We were making great plans to make it a special event-- another significant moment in the life of this church."
Now, the community is focusing on rebuilding.
"That love and faith is not diminished," Vasquez said. "It's not in anyway weakened. I believe that from these ashes it will grow even stronger."
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.
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