Suspicious Fire Destroys Historic Oregon Church

For the second time in four months, a fire has burned a more than century-old church building in the north central Oregon town of Arlington., reports

The fire broke out before 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Arlington Church of the Nazarene.

Gilliam County Sheriff Gray Bettencourt reports that firefighters responded to find the two-story building ablaze.

Pastor David Goffett told KOIN he arrived to find active flames coming from all four sides of the building and its roof. The church was a complete loss.

As of 8:30 a.m., 25 firefighters were still on scene mopping up hot spots. No one was hurt. 

The fire is very suspicious, Bettencourt said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the cause.

On July 9, a fire damaged the backside of the same church building. It was investigated by Oregon State Police as arson, although no arrests were made in that case. Deputies would not confirm if the two fires were related.

Goffett said that the building had not been used since the first fire because it was undergoing construction to repair the initial damage. The church had been using a youth center as a backup meeting place during that time.

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