Home June 2016 Arson investigated as Clark County sees two church fires over two days

Arson investigated as Clark County sees two church fires over two days


VANCOUVER, Wash. — Authorities say at least one, and likely both, Van-couver-area church fires over a two-day period last month were intentionally set.
The first took place about 3 a.m. Wednesday, May 25 at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1220 N.E. 68th St.
At press time for this newspaper, the massive, three-alarm fire was determined to be arson and a $10,000 reward is offered for the arrest and prosecution of those responsible (phone 1-800-55-ARSON).
The second, also about 3 a.m., was on Thursday, May 26 at Liberty Bible Church of the Nazarene, 12401 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave.
Firefighters from Clark County Fire District 6, which serves Hazel Dell, Felida and Salmon Creek, responded to both blazes. Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms also investigated both fires.
The May 25 fire at the Congregational church did an estimated $2 million damage — $630,000 to the building and about $1.2 million from contents. The fire started on the exterior of the building and then spread to the interior, destroying everything including the historic stained glass in the center of the church’s iconic, arced roof line.
At press time, Sunday service on May 29 was to be held under a tent.
The May 26 fire at the Nazarene church was quickly extinguished by sprinklers, but the water extensively damaged the lower level of the two-story church. Pastor Larry Rounsley told local media that a half-dozen rooms were damaged, including the pre-school, a nursery, a room for children with special needs, and a room for seniors.
In a statement on Facebook, Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins called for local residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity, particularly around churches.