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Vacant St. Augustine church in north St. Louis damaged in fire

A St. Louis County couple bought the building a few years ago with the intent to rehab the building and turn it into a community center.
Credit: KSDK
A still photo of St. Augustine Catholic Church in 2020.

ST. LOUIS — A vacant north St. Louis church built in the 1800s that a St. Louis County couple was working to rehab was damaged in a fire Thursday night.

Firefighters in north St. Louis worked to put out a fire at around 7 p.m. at the vacant St. Augustine Catholic Church at the intersection of West Hebert Street and Lismore Street.

The St. Louis Fire Department posted a video showing flames coming from the roof of the church. The fire department said they took defensive operations to put out the fire.

The fire department did not say if anyone was inside the building at the time of the fire or if anyone was injured.

In August 2020, 5 On Your Side's Rene Knott interviewed Brittany Breeden. She and her husband purchased the building for a dollar and agreed to pay the back taxes on the facility.

Their goal was to raise the money necessary to rehab the building and turn it into a community center.

“They don’t build buildings like this anymore. There’s nothing like this place,” she said in the interview.

They called their plan Project Augustine and estimated it would cost about $10 million due to the level of disrepair.

“It’s a disaster zone,” Breeden said in 2020. “There is no electricity. There’s no plumbing.”

In 2020, Breeden said she believed the project would take about five years to complete, but a message on the Project Augustine website said they were still working to fund the project.

"Due to a lack of funding and rapid deterioration of the church building, Project Augustine's goal of restoring the former St. Augustine Catholic Church is in serious jeopardy. We are evaluating remaining options for saving the structure, in any form. Unfortunately, the future of St. Augustine is unclear at this time."

For more information about Project Augustine, click here.

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