Watch CBS News

Sacramento church nearly destroyed in fire 3 years ago is finally reopening

Sacramento church firebombed 3 years ago reopens its doors
Sacramento church firebombed 3 years ago reopens its doors 02:19

SACRAMENTO — A Sacramento church that was nearly destroyed in a fire three years ago is finally opening doors to the public. They're hosting a grand re-opening this Saturday.

For Central International Fellowship, it's been a long tough road to get to this point. Nearly everything inside of the church was destroyed in that fire, and what was only supposed to be nine months of construction to complete turned out to be much longer thanks to the pandemic.

On January 29, 2020, an arsonist threw Molotov cocktails inside the church windows. The suspect would later be arrested and connected to a fire less than a mile away — that one only left behind minimal damage.

"They had a sprinkler system that put out the fire right away," Central International Pastor Don Patterson said of that other fire. "We did not have that luxury."

Before the church could even think about rebuilding, they were hit with another challenge.

"The insurance, they said, 'should be about nine months to a year and you'll be back in the building,' and well, COVID hit," Patterson said.

The pandemic would delay rebuilding for three years, shutting down construction, delaying permits and halting the transportation of materials due to supply chain issues.

While discouraged, it wouldn't shatter their faith and God wouldn't turn their back on them.

"He's able to turn and take what was meant for evil and turn it into good," Patterson said.

But today, it stands anew with major improvements thanks to the help of other churches and the insurance company.

"We have a much safer, more modern building with modern equipment than what we could have ever bought on our own," Patterson said.

Additionally, the stained glass windows that miraculously survived the fire now adorn the inside of the building.

"They remain untouched and undamaged, so that is a miracle in itself," said Pastor Chiem-Seng Yangh.

But Pastor Patterson notes the strength of the community as a key component to bringing the church back.

"It's great to see others come around and that you're not alone in whatever you face," Yangh said.

There's sure to be a big crowd there this Saturday as much of the community has been waiting to see the improvements.
It's happening from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. and will be followed by a potluck and ceremony.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.