All Within a 4-Block Area
BEND, OREGON, FIREFIGHTERS WERE STRUCK with seven fire calls within a few minutes time, all in the same small area of the city, early Wednesday morning beginning at 2 am. A historic church, three other structures, two automobiles and a wood pile were all reported burning and a heavy mutual -aid call went out.
It was almost immediately deemed suspicious activity, but the fire marshal has not yet officially classed them as arsons. The Bend Bulletin reports:
A wing of Trinity Episcopal Church, 469 N.W. Wall St., and its St. Helens Hall, 231 N.W. Idaho Ave, were struck by fire around 2 a.m., according to department spokesman Larry Medina. Another five sheds and garages in the surrounding block and two automobiles were also burned, he said.
A passerby reported the fire at Trinity Episcopal at 2:13 a.m. The roof of the west wing had been opened and blackened by fire; debris littered St. Helens Place. Across the street, St. Helens Hall, roped off by crime scene tape, was off limits to the volunteers who showed up to inspect the damage. The hall, formerly a Lutheran church, houses the Community Counseling Center and The Family Kitchen, a nonprofit that feeds as many as 200 people daily, said program director Cindy Tidball.
Medina said the Fire Department treats the scene as an open investigation. He would not characterize the fires as arson, although a fire captain described the fires as arson while closing off the scene to bystanders. Medina said agents from the department, the Oregon State Police, state fire marshal and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were taking part in the investigation.
KTVZ-TV filed this video report:
KTVZ has more HERE.
Hat tip: Dave R.
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