Building Belonging to Modesto Church Burns Over Night

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An early morning structure fire has left a Modesto church and charity deeper in debt.

The fire started early Saturday morning on Dale road near Pleandale Avenue.

The building that caught fire is separate from the actual church, but it was often rented out for weddings and other events. It was also full of donations which can no longer be sold.

“Two thirty in the morning my phone rang at home notifying me that the fire department was here,” said Ed Dyrda, the Parish Administrator. He came rushing to his Holy Family Church to find firefighters surrounding Nazareth Hall. “It was a total loss.”

Dyrda says the building itself was worth an estimated $175,000. Inside the building was also a Holiday and Gift Boutique, run by The Ladies and Friends of The Knights of Columbus.

Members of the Church told FOX40 the loss of the building will also hurt their bottom line. The congregation is saving to build a new facility, and the hall was often rented out as a source of income.

“Probably 200 thousand dollars maybe, we do a lot of our fundraisers, a lot of our meetings, a lot of our CCD where the kids meet, it was in use every day of the week,” said Bob Tognetti, a member of the Parish.

But during Saturday night Mass, many are seeing the glass as half full.

“To me it was a sign that God was telling us from these ashes a phoenix will arise, but it won’t be a phoenix, it’ll be Holy Family Church,” said Brion Winchell. “People are pretty strong here; we’ll get by.”

Church members said the cause of the fire is electrical. The hall was an 80-year-old building, which was originally an army barrack during World War II.