MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A fire caused major damage to the century-old Sacred Heart of Jesus church in northeast Minneapolis Monday night.

Crews were called just before 7 p.m. to the church, located on the 2200 block of 5th Street Northeast, after reports of a fire on the first floor.

(credit: CBS)

Firefighters rescued a few parishioners who had entered the church to try and put out the flames. By the time they were taken to safety, the fire spread to the roof.

Minneapolis Fire Department Chief Bryan Tyner says a partial roof collapsed forced crews back into a defensive mode, attacking the roof from the air as well as handling flames that spread to the bell tower atop the church.

(credit: CBS)

“Because of the construction of the church, the fire spread quickly into the attic area and it eventually burned through the roof, so unfortunately we weren’t able to save this one,” Tyner said. “It’s going to be a total loss, but we were able to avoid any loss of life or any injuries.”

The church has a small but mighty congregation. Parishioners who spoke with WCCO say they’re thankful to firefighters for saving some of the church’s historic stain-glass windows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is helping to determine the cause of the fire.

Reg Chapman