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Fire severely damages nearly 250-year-old church in Southern California

The San Gabriel Mission in Southern California that is nearly 250 years old was severely damaged in a four-alarm fire Saturday morning.
Collin Jones The Post Millennial

The San Gabriel Mission in Southern California that is nearly 250 years old was severely damaged in a four-alarm fire Saturday morning.

The blaze happened on the same day an arsonist set an occupied Catholic church on fire in Florida.

The top and much of the interior of the Roman Catholic church located at the San Gabriel Mission was destroyed, according to NBC News.

Jose Gomez took to Twitter Saturday, posting a few photos of the incident and tweeting: "Our beloved #SanGabrielMission, founded in 1771, devastated by fire before dawn. St. Junípero Serra, pray for this land that you helped to found."

Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a regional investigative task force including San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Monrovia and San Marino are currently trying to identify the cause of the fire.

The initial investigation showed no immediate sign of arson, but investigators have not ruled it out.

No injuries were reported during the incident.

"During the course of the fire, portions of the roof fell upon the firefighters," Capt. Antonio Negrete of the San Gabriel Fire Department said. "They were evacuated and initiated a defensive fire attack."

"It's a tragic loss for our city. It's our city identifier," Negrete added. "We're trying to cope with it."

Only the bell tower and museum remained intact.

Franciscan priest Junipero Serra founded the Spanish mission in 1771, and it is considered to be a historical landmark for the faithful in the area.

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