Delmas Ave. church fire photos

Church fire

These are a few photos of the wreckage of the historic church building that burned down near downtown San Jose two nights ago. According to the Mercury News article on the fire, the church was originally (1903 – 1943) the Evangelical Lutheran Bethel Church, and later occupied by three different Baptist denominations.

While I was there another man came to take some photos. He told me he’d been a congregation member when this church was known as one of the first Baptist churches in San Jose, and he’d been married in the church.

Like the Houghton-Donner house that burned down a couple of years ago, the building was slated for renovation and conservation. If the money had materialized, it would have been moved to San Jose History Park to join other historic buildings chronicling the history of our city. But nobody was motivated to keep the place secure, and homeless people were known to camp in the building. Probably their cooking fire saved some developer from the expense of moving the building.

If you don’t want to see more of this kind of demolition by neglect, consider contacting your city councilmember and letting them know you support new laws to keep abandoned buildings secure and protected from fires.

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