riverside, church, fire Firefighters Battle Blaze At Century-Old Riverside Church – CBS Los Angeles

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — A blaze caused significant damage to the sanctuary of a church in Riverside Sunday night.

Riverside Fire Department crews responded to Magnolia Presbyterian Church at 7200 Magnolia Avenue shortly after 7:15 p.m. to find plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.

READ MORE: Free Dodgers Tickets For 1,000 Fans As Incentives Continue Rolling In For Californians Who Received The COVID Vaccine


The fire tore through the sanctuary, causing considerable damage near the stage area. Shattered glass could be seen from where the fire busted out the front windows. It took crews about one hour to extinguish the blaze.

No other structures were damaged, including the original church, a separate building which was built in 1881, according to Magnolia’s website.

“I’m in total shock, you don’t expect something like this to happen at your church,” Elder Brian Nelson said. “I’ve been here about 30 years, and it’s almost a surreal experience.”

READ MORE: Driver Killed After Careening Into Hancock Park Home, Sparking Fire; Street Racing May Be To Blame

However, Nelson told CBS2 he was grateful the damage wasn’t worse and that there were no injuries.

“There wasn’t anybody hurt so we’re very, very thankful for that,” he said.

A nearby church has offered to host the candlelight service scheduled for Christmas Eve.

MORE NEWS: Fire Crews Prepare As Hot Spell Expected To Bear Down On Southland Next Week

There is no word on the cause of the fire or a financial estimate of the damage.