Historic San Pablo church destroyed in fire

Courtesy photo Smoke billows from the Presbyterian San Pablo Church in Costilla County on Wednesday afternoon as fire crews battled the blaze that ultimately consumed the historic building. Crews from five fire departments plus the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control responded to the scene but, sadly, the church and house behind it were both destroyed in the flames. There were no reported injuries in the incident.

Fire started in house on property

ALAMOSA — The Presbyterian San Pablo Church in Costilla County was destroyed by fire Wednesday afternoon along with the house, located behind the church, that stood on the same property.

According to Costilla County Sheriff Danny Sanchez, the call reporting the fire came into the sheriff’s office around 1 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Multiple agencies responded to the call, including the Costilla County Fire Department, Alamosa Fire Department, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control plus three fire stations from New Mexico, including Amilia, Cerro and Cuesta Fire Departments.

Sanchez stated that the fire started in the house and then spread to the church, destroying both buildings. The structures were occupied at the time the fire broke out, with an “elderly lady and an adult male” in the house and “an adult male” in the church.

Fortunately, all three evacuated in time, and no one sustained any injuries. Within just a few hours, the Red Cross was providing services to those who were impacted.

When the Valley Courier reached Sheriff Sanchez at about 5 p.m. Wednesday evening, he reported that several of the fire departments were still on the scene, and the fire was under control but still smoldering. The fire's cause is not known yet.

The church, located at 10516 County Road 21 in San Pablo, is on the south side of Culebra Creek and, according to a real estate listing, was built in 1897. Sanchez could not confirm the age of the building or if it was recognized as a historic site but said it looked “very old.”

“I was there when it came down and you could see the adobe bricks,” he said. “It was very sad.”