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FBI investigating ‘suspicious’ fire at black church in Mass.

FBI investigating ‘suspicious’ fire at black church in Mass.

(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:15 PM PT – Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Federal and local authorities are investigating a fire that destroyed a predominantly black church in western Massachusetts.

The blaze erupted early Monday morning at the ‘Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church‘ in Springfield, a city west of Boston.

Firefighters took about an hour to extinguish the flames. Springfield Fire Commissioner Bernard Calvi called the blaze “highly suspicious,” because three other fires were reported in the area in the last three weeks.

He described the fire as a potential “hate crime,” and said the incident is being investigated as possible arson.

“First, you have to rule out any accidental causes before we can find a deliberate cause, so the Cause and Origin Team is working on that,” Commissioner Bernard Calvi said. “Simultaneously, investigators from the FBI and Springfield Police are canvassing the area looking to talk to anybody who witnessed the fire.”

Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire, but officials said the church is “unusable” because of the extensive damage. Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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