CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A fire that broke out at a Massachusetts church not long after Easter services is being investigated as a possible arson, according to the FBI and state and local law enforcement agencies.
The fire started about 5:30 p.m. April 9 at the Faith Lutheran Church in Cambridge. Firefighters from 18 engine companies and eight ladder companies responded.
Part of the roof collapsed, but the main structure was still standing. The steeple, which survived the initial fire, was removed later. Images of the multialarm blaze showed heavy smoke coming from the steeple.
No injuries were reported.
“Investigators are asking anyone with photographs or videos of the scene, including the day before the fire, the day of the fire, and during the firefighting operations to submit them,” to the FBI, the agency tweeted.
The Rev. Robin Lutjohann, the pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, says that knowing the fire was purposefully set is very troubling
“We're still processing the shock of that announcement,” he said. “It’s incredibly disturbing, of course.
“And also, you know, if it turns out that there is a perpetrator out there who has caused fires, to pray for that person too,” Lutjohann added.
Images posted online by the FBI showed a charred interior.
The agency said they believe the fire was intentionally set.
“No piece of information is too small to share," Cambridge Fire Chief Thomas Cahill said in a statement.
The Faith Lutheran congregation in Cambridge was founded in 1892. The church building was completed in 1909.
The joint investigation is being conducted by the Cambridge fire and police departments, the State Police fire and explosion investigation unit, the FBI, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.