FBI, ATF investigating fire a black church in Springfield, Mass.
Joe Jurado is reporting for The Root the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with local police are investigating a fire at a black church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church caught fire during the early hours of December 27; it took firefighters nearly an hour to put out the blaze. Fire Commissioner Bernard Calvi said the fire was “highly suspicious” as “[there have] been three other fires in this general area in the last three weeks.” The fire was so damaging it rendered the church “unusable.” Ronn Johnson of Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Services said the Presbyterian church has been the site of multiple instances of vandalism in recent weeks, including an incident where some cardboard was set ablaze. The FBI has joined the investigation because it was a black church set on fire in the middle of the night, which means this could be a hate crime. The ATF has also joined the investigation along with the Massachusetts State Police Arson and Bomb Squad. Officials are asking that anyone with information call the arson hotline at 800-682-9229. Read the full story at thereto [dot] com.