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At 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, around 200 worshipers had gathered at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Father Heriberto Mercado noticed smoke coming from the ceiling and worked quickly and quietly to evacuate everyone. 

Muleshoe Fire Department arrived at 8:10 a.m. According to a press release from Muleshoe/Bailey County Fire Marshal Benny Parker, there was a very heavy amount of smoke inside the church, as well notable flames and smoke coming from the southwest corner of the church, in the area of the eaves. Some congregation members had noticed a smell of smoke before the fire department arrived. 

Flames were extinguished, the church ventilated and the smoke cleared. The origin of the fire was in a loft in the southwest corner of the building. 

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, pending further investigation by the fire marshal and the insurance company. The press release notes that a possible cause is going to be electrical in nature. 

Damage was contained to the loft area, along with collateral damage to the surrounding areas of the building from heat, smoke and fire department overhaul. 

“It’s so hard to see a lot of these things that were damaged, things that you wouldn’t ordinarily think about,” said Rosie Cabrera, president of the Parish Council. “The holy water fount is broken, and our main focal point, the stained glass window, is damaged. It’s heartbreaking to everybody.” 

Muleshoe Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was established as a parish in 1956. Plans are being made to hold services in the Parish Hall behind the church. 

“I think it’s great that’s everyone’s coming together, giving love and support to the church,” Cabrera said. “People came the next day to help us move forward with the future. We had a lot of people come, even people in the community, to help create this new location at our hall.” 

Two accounts have been set up to help the church cover costs beyond insurance payment and for needed improvements. They are: 

  1. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Fire Restoration Fund account at any Happy State Bank. Donations may be made to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Fire Restoration Fund. 
  1. Online donation on the Diocese of Lubbock website page (catholicclublubbock.org) 

Steps: 

  • Click on menu 
  • Select Give 
  • Scroll down to Parish Donation 
  • Select Give Online 

Fund: Parish Donation 

Subfund: Muleshoe, Immaculate Conception, 410 

Please stipulate on notes: ICC Fire Fund 

Add amount and submit 

Note: Listed steps must stipulate the donation is for the ICC Fire Fund 

For more information, contact Rosie Cabrera or Andres Martinez at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church or check the church’s Facebook page. 

Gail M. Williams, Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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