CONEJOS – In the aftermath of a fire at Colorado’s oldest church, an image appeared that some parishioners consider a miracle.

Overnight on Ash Wednesday, fire caused smoke damage at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. The Conejos County sheriff believes it was an accidental electrical fire. Not long after, an investigator surveying the damage noticed the image of a crown above a portrait of the Virgin Mary, according to Father Sergio Robles.

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The father says since word has spread, parishioners have told him they consider the image a miracle. They would like to see it preserved while the church repairs damage to the rest of the building.

An image of a crown was seen above a portrait of the Virgin Mary in the aftermath of a fire at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Conejos, Colorado.

The Catholic Church has rules about classifying something as a miracle, Fr. Sergio says. While he won’t say whether he agrees with his parishioners, the father says he hasn’t seen anything like the crown image during his seven years at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. The crown will stay while repairs are made, which Fr. Sergio says could take months and could cost as much as $500,000.

The church was founded 162 years ago by a group of settlers from New Mexico. Last week’s fire wasn’t even its first. On Ash Wednesday 90 years ago, an electrical fire led parishioners to rebuild a large portion of the church.

(© 2016 KUSA)