CREATED May. 29, 2013 - UPDATED: May. 29, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Tucson Fire Department responded to an overnight fire inside the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Wednesday.
The church, which is home to the popular Tucson Greek Festival in the fall, is located near Mountain and Ft. Lowell.
Fire investigators have now determined that the fire was caused by a candle that was left unattended on the altar, according to Baker.
Captain Barrett Baker tells KGUN9 that there is heavy smoke damage inside the building. The flames died down quickly, he said, because there was a lack of oxygen inside the building.
"A good majority of the time when you see that heavy smoke there's oxygen involved as well and you see the heavy flames to go with it, in this case I would say it is a little bit rare," Baker said.
Tucson police initially responded to the scene after the church's alarm went off at around midnight. They confirmed there was heavy smoke coming out of the building and Tucson firefighters arrived about fifteen minutes later.
By 1:00 a.m., Baker said the fire went out on its own, but not before it caused approximately $1 million in damages.
City building inspectors say the church is now condemned. No one was in the church at the time of the fire.
A makeshift church setup is already in place. In fact, church members gathered for an impromptu service Wednesday morning amid clean up.
"I cried this morning because the church was burnt and then I started crying again because all of you showed up and took days off," Father Earl Cantos told his congregation during the makeshift morning service.
Church members say the community has turned up by the dozens, offering to help in any way they can.