Suspicious Fires Cannot be Linked

Suspicious church fires began with one burning in rural Louisiana on March 26th. On Tuesday, and again on Thursday, two more fires were reported. At this time, nothing much is known. There is no evidence of motive, and nothing is left of at least one of the churches. A church burning epidemic that started in the 1950’s all through the South seems to be making a comeback.

Though quite a few are the result of a hoax, there is no evidence these three fires are the result of a prank. Racism has not been ruled out, but doesn’t seem to be the top direction officials are taking. Authorities do not feel they have enough information to even link the three fires together.

From The New York Times: “ATLANTA — Three historically black churches have burned in less than two weeks in one south Louisiana parish, where officials said they had found “suspicious elements” in each case. The officials have not ruled out the possibility of arson, or the possibility that the fires are related.”

“But just as we haven’t connected the three in St. Landry, we haven’t connected the one in Caddo,” said Ashley Rodrigue, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, on Friday.” The “one in Caddo” refers to a small fire “intentionally set” at a church in Caddo Parish, about 3 hours away.

Not Yet Clear if Fires are Connected

The New York Daily News (NYDN) obtained a statement from the State Fire Marshal. From NYDN: “State Fire Marshal H. ‘Butch’ Browning said it’s not yet clear whether the spate of blazes across St. Landry Parish are connected, but noted investigators have uncovered ‘several patterns’ at the three different crime scenes.”

“‘There certainly is a commonality,’ he told reporters during a press conference this week. ‘Whether that leads to a person or persons or groups, we just don’t know. And that’s not unusual for us not to know at this point.’” The FBI and the ATF have joined in the investigation into these suspicious fires. For some, the fires are a deeply personal injury.

From CBSNews.com: “The fire at Greater Union Baptist Tuesday burned from the roof to the pews. For Pastor Harry Richard, whose grandfather helped start the church more than 100 years ago, the damage is personal. ‘He left a legacy for me and I was trying to fulfill that to the best of my ability,’ he said.”

From USA Today: “The Rev. Gerald Toussaint, who leads Mount Pleasant, said he was heartbroken when he saw what remained of his church, which he said is more than 140 years old. ‘My church has a lot of history,” he said. ‘I don’t understand it. What could make a person do that to a church?’”

Determined to Solve the Puzzle

“We’re gonna solve this. For the people responsible, the right thing to do would be come ask for redemption and come forward and let us help you through this process, don’t make us hunt you down, because we will,” said Browning.”

Not much is known at this time. Check back for updates.

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