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Police investigate possible hate crime after arsonist sets fire to black church in North Carolina

Published 25/06/2015

The fire at Charlotte's Briar Creek Road Baptist Church
The fire at Charlotte's Briar Creek Road Baptist Church

Investigators have ruled that an arsonist set fire to a predominantly black church in North Carolina.

The Charlotte Fire Department is currently investigating whether the arson was a hate crime. The fire occurred at the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church on Wednesday morning requiring 14 engines and 75 firefighters to control.

The 85-member Baptist church is predominantly black and David Williams, the department's senior fire investigator, said the investigators are ruling the fire as arson.

"We completed our work on the scene and determined this was intentionally set."

Mr Williams told the Charlotte-Observer that the department would determine whether or not the arson was a hate crime. Mannix Kinsey, the church’s pastor, told the paper that he's already forgiven the arsonist but he hopes that hate wasn’t a factor.

“We are still talking about this same issue and this is 2015. We all have to consider what else do we need to do to actually be able to work together,” he said.

Two firefighters were treated with heat-related injuries at a nearby hospital but both are expected to make a full recovery.

The damage from the fire is estimated at more than $250,000.

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From Belfast Telegraph