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Church deemed total loss in Bay Mills Township fire

The Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Mission Catholic Church current building opened in December 1967, following a fire that destroyed the first building.
The Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Mission Catholic Church in Bay Mills following an early morning...
The Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Mission Catholic Church in Bay Mills following an early morning fire May 5, 2021.(Bay Mills Victim Advocate, Liza McGahey/WLUC)
Published: May. 5, 2021 at 10:43 AM EDT
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BAY MILLS, Mich. (WLUC) - A church in Bay Mills Township is considered a total loss following an overnight fire.

The Bay Mills Police Department (BMPD) is investigating a fire at the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Mission Catholic Church located at 12012 W. Lakeshore Dr. in Bay Mills Township.

Police say the fire was reported to Chippewa County Central Dispatch on May 5 at about 1:23 a.m.

Fire departments from Bay Mills Township, Superior Township and Dafter Township responded to the scene to extinguish the fire. Bay Mills Emergency Connection ambulance and the U.S. Border Patrol also assisted at the scene.

No injuries were reported from the fire.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the Michigan State Police Fire Marshall has been contacted and will assist in the investigation.

BMPD is asking community members and news media to remain clear of the scene, as it remains an active investigation and is not safe. Crews are continuing to deal with hot spots.

Police say the current church, which opened in December 1967, has been deemed a total loss. Prior to that, the original church which opened in December 1966, was also lost to fire.

In a Facebook post, Bay Mills Indian Community Tribal Chairperson Whitney Gravelle, said in part, “Please send your thoughts and prayers to all of our community members who worshipped, celebrated, and prayed at St. Kateri.

“St. Kateri is the patron saint for Native Americans, and was first recognized by Bay Mills Indian Community more than fifty three years ago with the construction of a new church then known as Blessed Kateri. In the Catholic Church she is the saint that watches over us in times of adversity and hardship, and I ask for her to watch over all of our Parish as we mourn her loss.

“I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to our emergency responders who were there on the scene last night - Bay Mills Police Department, Bay Mills Township, Dafter Township, and Superior Township. Thank you for protecting our community and being with them in times of both sadness and darkness.”

Our poor little Church is gone.

Posted by Kurt Perron on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

TV6 will update this story as the investigation continues.

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