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Contra Costa County Fire Protection District crews on Friday began sifting through the rubble from a church building that burned down in Concord a day earlier but have yet to determine what sparked the blaze, a spokesman said.

Firefighters initially responded at 5:32 a.m. Thursday to the two-alarm fire reported at a two-story building Christ Community Church of the Nazarene at 1650 Ashbury Drive near Clayton Road and Galindo Street and extinguished it about 40 minutes later.

The fire caused the roof to collapse and the second floor to collapse onto the first, so investigators could not enter the building until Friday after heavy construction equipment was brought in to make sure the structure would not collapse further, fire district spokesman Steve Hill said.

“It’s not an easy job digging through all those layers of rubble,” Hill said, adding that the district also brought out a cadaver dog to make sure no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Janelle Maher, wrote on its Facebook page to thank the firefighters who responded to the blaze and other community members who have offered help.

“So many kind people reached out to check on us from our surrounding Concord community, friends and loved ones of our current congregation, and many of our former members,” Maher wrote. “We are so grateful for your support and prayers. We care deeply for our community as well, and look forward to providing the same support, care and compassion to you in your time of need.”



The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

QUESTION: Will you continue to wear a mask after the state’s outdoor mask mandate is lifted on June 15?

Talk about it….


Free dental care will be available in June for residents of Contra Costa County who do not have dental insurance.

The clinic is provided by a collaboration of two charitable organizations, Dentists on Wheels and St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County. Construction of the facility, which will include three dental chairs for clients, is expected to be completed in the coming weeks in Pittsburg at the St. Vincent de Paul Family Resource Center at 2210 Gladstone Drive.

The clinic, to be staffed by volunteer dentists, will be able to treat most patients’ needs, from screenings, cleanings and check-ups to fillings, crowns, extractions and dentures.


Kids between the ages of 12-15 can now get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at all county-run clinics in Contra Costa.

The County is expanding eligibility after the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommended Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for use in this younger age group. Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was only approved for people ages 16 and older.

The County has already begun working with the Contra Costa County Office of Education, local school districts and Kaiser Permanente to host vaccination clinics at various middle schools and high schools in the coming weeks.

Nearly 700,000 county residents ages 16+ have received at least one dose of vaccine already. About 65,000 residents in Contra Costa fall between ages 12-15.

Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for use by those who are ages 12-17. The other two COVID vaccines in the United States made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still only available to people ages 18 and older.


A 42-year-old Pittsburg man was found dead in San Rafael on Wednesday and his co-worker at a Concord landscaping company has been arrested on suspicion of killing him, San Rafael police said.

David Nunez Sanchez didn’t come home after working on a job at an apartment complex on North Avenue in San Rafael on Tuesday, and on Wednesday someone with the landscaping company went out to the job site and found Nunez Sanchez’s work truck, which was locked, according to police.

The employee called police, who learned that Nunez Sanchez had been reported missing to Pittsburg police on Tuesday after not returning home. When officers searched the truck, they found his cellphone as well as his lunchbox with uneaten food in it, police said.

Officers searched the area and eventually found Nunez Sanchez dead and he had been buried under brush and branches. Detectives went to Concord to interview three other employees who were at the job site that day and learned Nunez Sanchez was the supervisor of the work crew, police said.

After an extensive interview, one of the employees, Miguel Jimenez Alejandre, a 33-year-old Bay Point man, allegedly confessed to killing Nunez Sanchez. Police have not released the manner of death or a possible motive for the killing.

Alejandre was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of murder.


Family homelessness will end in five years in California, according to a $12 billion, two-year plan announced Tuesday by the governor.

Family homelessness refers to households with at least one adult and one minor who are homeless, the governor’s office said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is hoping the state Legislature votes to fund the plan, which is based on results over the past year including programs to shelter and house homeless individuals in hotels and motels.

“We are committed to ending family homelessness,” Newsom said at a news conference.

The $12 billion to end homelessness is part of a $100 billion plan to invigorate the state’s economy as the COVID-19 pandemic ends and comes on the heels of a historic state budget surplus.

Newsom’s plan includes an expansion of Project Homekey, which converted hotels and motels into housing for homeless people. It focuses on homeless people with the most acute needs such as people with mental health challenges and seniors most at risk of becoming homeless.

Newsom said shelter does not solve homelessness.

“Housing and supportive services solve homelessness,” he said.


California would invest more than $100 billion into its public school system under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised state budget proposal, expanding behavioral health services and access to pre-kindergarten, Newsom said Wednesday.

The funding plan includes an additional $20 billion on top of the $85.8 billion in Newsom’s initial budget proposal from January, which the governor said at that time was the largest investment in education in the state’s history.

The $20 billion — part of a $100 billion spending plan that Newsom has dubbed the California Comeback Plan — would make pre-kindergarten available to every 4-year-old in the state and create thousands of so-called “community schools” that offer mental health and social services to both students and their families.

“We are looking to transform, not go back to where we were, but to transform our educational system,” Newsom said of the education spending in his budget proposal.

Some of the money, like that for in-school behavioral and mental health services, will be spent over the next five years, Newsom said.

Under the funding plan, the state would make $3.3 billion available to train and support the additional teachers needed to expand the availability of pre-kindergarten and cut the ratio of pre-K students to teachers from 24-to-one to 12-to-one.

The funding plan also includes $2 billion to open personal savings accounts for some 3.7 million low-income, foster, homeless and English-learning youth.

The savings accounts would be seeded with $500 base deposits and could eventually be used to help pay for college or start a business, Newsom said.

Newsom argued that conversations about income inequality do not focus enough on the issue of wealth inequality and that low-income families do not have the proper access to owning assets or even the ability to contribute to a savings account.

“Our children are going to need more beyond the K-12 or even TK-12 experience,” Newsom said. “We’re poised to do something that the academics have been promoting for decades and that researchers have said is one of the best investments in breaking the cycle of poverty.”

Newsom is expected to unveil the full revised budget proposal on Friday.

Newsom and the state legislature will then have until June 15 to approve the budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.