San Jose's St. Patrick's Cathedral Catches Fire

Fire crews appeared to get control of the fire by noon.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Aug 31, 2012  |  Updated 11:31 AM PDT
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Fire crews rushed to Saint Patrick Cathedral near downtown San Jose Thursday morning after a fire was reported at the church.

Fire crews rushed to Saint Patrick Cathedral near downtown San Jose Thursday morning after a fire was reported at the church.

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San Jose's St. Patrick's Cathedral Catches Fire

Fire crews rushed to Saint Patrick Cathedral near downtown San Jose Thursday morning to put out a fire that appeared to have started inside the sanctuary. Damian Trujillo reports.
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Fire crews rushed to Saint Patrick Cathedral near downtown San Jose Thursday morning to put out a fire that appeared to have started inside the sanctuary.

San Jose fire crews quickly called a third alarm. The blaze broke out about 11 a.m. at the church at 389 East Santa Clara Street. Crews reported that the fire was "out" at 12:05 p.m.

The attention of all the emergency crews quickly turned to firefghter Francis "Frank" Ryan, 44, who collapsed in front of the church from an apparent heart attack.

Ryan was given immediate medical attention by his fellow firefighters. They said he had no pulse and was not breathing for a time, but his "brothers" brought him back to life before rushing him to the hospital.

According to Capt. Mary Gutierrez, Ryan, a 15-year veteran  firefighter and paramedic, was in stable condition, Thursday night, in Regional Medical  Center of San Jose's Intensive Care Unit.  About 20 firefighters have  gathered to support him and his family.

The cardiac doctor who treated Ryan said his fellow firefighters definitely saved his life. He added that Ryan came to work with "an angel on his shoulder."

The fire at the church is at least the third San Jose fire in the last three days.

The first fire began before midnight on Wednesday and destroyed Summer Winds Nursery. Then a two-alarm blaze damaged stores at Capital Commercial Center early Thursday morning

Witnesses said the church fire caused glass from the cathedral windows to break and pop away crashing to the ground below. Smoke from the fire could be seen throughout the downtown area of San Jose. An NBC Bay Area viewer sent in photograph below showing smoke billowing from the building.

St. Patrick's is also a school. But the building that was on fire was the church which is a parking lot away from the school.

School officials said the students were safe and were evacuated to the play yard.

Saint Patrick Proto-Cathedral Parish is a personal parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose and predominantly serves the Vietnamese community. It was founded in 1872, which makes it the second oldest Roman Catholic parish in the city. The oldest is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph downtown.

  

 Damian Trujillo contributed to this report.

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