Residents attempted to put out the conflagration but it had already consumed a large part of the roof and by the time firefighters arrived from Paracho and Uruapan the church was severely damaged.
The Mexican Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto, took to Twitter to express her solidarity and sadness about the news:
“Devastating images of the fire in the Santiago Apóstol church in Nurio, Paracho district, Michoacán. One of the most beautiful churches in the world. We will provide all necessary support,” Frausto wrote.
Although the cause of the fire is still being investigated, many local news outlets are reporting the lack of available water for firefighters likely made the situation worse.
The Archdiocese of Morelia posted on its Facebook page, “we join in prayer with the community of Nurio, Paracho district, Michoacán, in its profound pain over the burning of St. James the Apostle church,” one of “the most beautiful and rustic” in the region where the Purépecha indigenous people live.
“The cause of the fire is still unknown,” the archdiocese continued, noting that the roof “was the most affected part of the only church in Mexico with Novohispanic Purepecha art.”
In a subsequent March 8 post, the archdiocese said that the church, which “today appears practically in ashes,” was “an architectural jewel of incalculable value.”
The church had already survived two fires: one in the 1980s and another one in 2015.
(Picture Courtesy: Miguel Torres)