FORT SCOTT, Kan. (KSNW) – A fire Monday heavily damaged the Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Fort Scott.

The fire was reported around 9:12 p.m. Fire crews from Fort Scott Fire Department arrived and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the church’s southeast corner.

The department and crews from the Nevada Fire Department, Scott Township Fire Department, Bourbon County Rural District 3 Fire Department, and Arma Fire Department battled the blaze until early Tuesday.

“It’s very sad because it’s an incredibly beautiful church. It predates the Civil War. And it’s just one of the prettiest places that you could ever imagine, and to lose it is an unbelievably sad thing, but this is a vibrant and faithful church community,” said Matt Ida, parishioner.

“Well, it’s a shock, and it’s a surprise, and you know, and nobody expects this, but when you believe in God, you have faith that there’s a purpose and there’s a reason for this, and this community is strong. Everybody here is going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our church is rebuilt stronger spiritually and physically,” Angie Soetaert, parishioner said.

The cause of the fire is currently being investigated by the state fire marshal’s office.

One Fort Scott Firefighter sustained a minor injury. He was treated and released from the Via Christi.

The Catholic school located by the church canceled classes for the day for safety reasons.

Fort Scott is located about 88 miles south of Kansas City and 150 miles east of Wichita.