Mission San Gabriel Fire

Incident Summary

In the early morning of July 11, Verdugo Fire Communications received a notification of an automatic fire alarm at the Mission San Gabriel. Firefighters from the San Gabriel Fire Department was dispatched at 4:24 a.m. Once at the scene, firefighters saw fire and smoke coming out from the rear of the sanctuary in the area of the choir loft. Additional resources were requested and San Gabriel firefighters began an offensive fire attack.

With the assistance of automatic aid from surrounding cities, firefighters fought to stop the spread of the fire to the altar area and the Mission’s museum. Crews took protective actions to protect historical artifacts from fire, water and smoke damage. With five ladder trucks providing the flow of water to the fire, firefighters positioned themselves in nearly every doorway to provide additional water resources to the interior of the church.

The fire was knocked down at 6:45 a.m. More than 80 members and 30 pieces of apparatus from Arcadia, Alhambra, Monrovia, Monterey Park, San Marino and South Pasadena provided assistance to this incident - including 15 engines, five ladder trucks, six battalion chiefs, three rescue ambulances and one air utility.


May 4, 2021: After a multi-agency investigation, investigators charged John David Corey Jr., 57, with two felony counts of arson of an inhabited structure, one count each of arson during a state of emergency, first-degree residential burglary and possession of flammable material. The case has been filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Read more here.

November 15, 2020: The investigation remains ongoing and a definite cause is still being determined by investigators. 

July 21, 2020: Custody of the structure was returned from the investigators to the Mission San Gabriel. Investigators had been at the scene at the Mission San Gabriel since the incident began on July 11, but were only able to thoroughly examine the building beginning on July 15 once engineers and structural specialists were able to stabilize loose debris.

Latest Statements

A list of previous statements may be found below:

Media Contacts

Due to the ongoing nature of this case, additional questions about the investigation and the suspect may be directed to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office through their Media Relations Division.

Please send general inquiries to communications@sgch.org and a member of our Public Information team will get back to you. 

Last updated: July 12, 2022