Oxendine: Arson Unlikely in Ga. Church Fire

July 10, 2007

Arson is unlikely in a northwest Georgia church fire that broke out early on July 6 – Georgia’s third church fire in less than two weeks, investigators said.

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine said investigators at Faith Baptist Church in the Bartow County town of Kingston had not found evidence by midday Friday that the fire was set intentionally.

“Unless we get any more evidence, we’re going to leave it as ‘undetermined,’ Oxendine said. “If someone were to call us and say they saw a truck parked out there at midnight, that obviously reopens the case.”

Oxendine said it appears the fire may have been caused by electrical problems, and that other accidental means have been ruled out.

The fire began at about 12:20 a.m. on July 6. The church, which Oxendine said was insured, was destroyed.

A dozen firefighters were called in to battle the fire at the small church, according to Insurance Department spokesman Glenn Allen. No injuries were reported.

Last week’s fire came just over a week after fires destroyed two churches on June 28 in Washington County, east of Macon. Those two fires – at Mount Sinai AME Church and Holy Springs Baptist Church – have been labeled arson.

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