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100-year-old Cheesman Park church damaged by fire

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DENVER -- Cleanup crews are hard at work hoping to restore one of the oldest standing churches in Denver after an early morning fire Monday.

Fire crews responded to a report of a fire at the Denver Church of the Ascension at 6th and Gilpin at about 2 a.m. Monday, and one witness, named Ben, says he feared the worst. “I was just worried about people inside honestly… I backed away from it. There was nothing I could do.”

Luckily no one was inside at the time, but Father Lucas Grubbs lives right next to his church, and as he darted out of his home to see what was happening, he could only pray, “Please don`t let my church burn to the ground.”

Father Grubbs says most of the damage is to the outside of the 107-year-old building, but a decades-old stained glass window was damaged beyond repair. Despite the loss of the irreplaceable window, Grubbs says, “It could have been a lot worse."

Father Grubbs says there haven't been any recent issues that would make his church a target for arson, but if it was, he's doing his best to turn the other cheek. “It`s unfortunate, but this is a very fine parish and an amazing group of people, and we`re already starting to rebuild."

There's no damage estimate yet , and for now weekday services are suspended. The hope is by Sunday morning most of the damage will be cleared, and the church of about 300, full of worshipers.