Fire at Phoenix monastery: Faulty power strip blamed for causing $1M in damage

- A faulty power strip powering Christmas lights is being blamed for a fire that caused $1 million in damage at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Phoenix.

Two sisters who live at the monastery escaped the flames -- one of them jumped into action to put the fire out.

You can see just how intense the flames were. The sisters tried to salvage what they could, but unfortunately, there's not a whole lot left inside. Now they're rebuilding the structure which means so much to them.

"It was from floor to the ceiling.. this whole section here was all aflame," said Sister Linda Campbell.

Campbell recalls the night she saw a wall of flame engulfing the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery.

It was determined that a faulty power strip ignited the blaze, even though it was turned off at the time. The power strip was used for Christmas lights which were decorating an altar to honor the Virgin Guadalupe.

"I think she protected us.. I think if this had been longer and gone into the upstairs, next to Sister Lydia's bedroom and it didn't," said Campbell.

Now that the initial shock has worn off, they're cleaning up and slowly, but surely rebuilding.

"The smoke covered the entire building. We have 13,000 square feet and so only two rooms missed.. the craft room and the library. Everything else.. there's damage," explained Campbell.

There are costs well beyond what insurance will pay for, but Sister Linda says that the community they serve has stepped up to help.

"Our community is not very wealthy, but they give their time and talent and that's just as important."

They're looking forward to once again opening their doors.

"There's lots of memories and experiences that were lost, but we weren't injured and we're grateful to God that we were able to get out, so there's blessings," she said.

They hope to have the construction completed in four months.

If you would to help them with construction costs: www.olgmonastery.com


 

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