Dec. 28 (UPI) — An early morning, two-alarm fireplace at a Black church in western Massachusetts is being investigated as arson and is “extremely suspicious,” fireplace officers stated Monday.
Springfield firefighters had been summoned to the Martin Luther King Jr. Group Presbyterian Church about 5 a.m. on Monday, Springfield Fireplace Commissioner Bernard Calvi stated. The fireplace was put out in about an hour, however the church is considerably broken and unusable, he stated.
“There have been a number of nuisance fires in that neighborhood that we have been trying into,” Calvi stated Monday. “This morning’s fireplace is extremely suspicious. … It is a church that burned at nighttime, so it is a potential hate crime,” Calvi stated.
“At the moment, we now have not recognized anyone, however any assist the group may give can be enormously appreciated,” he added.
A $5,000 reward has been provided for info resulting in the arrest of anybody concerned with the hearth, which is being investigated by the town’s arson and bomb squad, state police investigators from the hearth marshal’s workplace and brokers with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“It is horrible that somebody tried to burn down Martin Luther King Group Presbyterian Church,” Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno stated Monday. “It appears to be an arson sort of state of affairs and we’re reviewing cameras.”
The fireplace brought on about $100,000 price of smoke and water harm, spokesman Capt. Drew Piemonte stated Monday. Firefighters lower a gap within the roof, which had simply been changed by the congregation final week, Piemonte stated.
The church constructing, utilized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Group Presbyterian Church since 1979, was inbuilt 1950. The congregation has about 50 members, WWLP reported.