Arson suspected at Cherryville church fire - UPDATED

Fire severely damaged the Cherryville Church of God last week, and the blaze is currently under investigation as authorities suspect arson was the cause. Fire units were dispatched to the second alarm blaze at around 5:45 a.m. on Friday, April 12. According to Steelville Fire Protection District Chief Keith Young, “Units arrived on scene with heavy fire in the basement going up the outside back wall. The fire was under control in less than two hours.” He reported there was serious interior damage due to the fire in the basement, along with a lot of heat and smoke damage and some fire damage on the upper floor of the structure.
Deputies with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office were also dispatched to the church for the fire. A press release issued by Crawford County Sheriff Darin Layman on Friday evening reported that arson investigators with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the ATF were called to the scene, as it looked like forced entry had been made into the church prior to the arrival of first responders. The fire is currently under investigation and is believed to have been intentionally set.
Sheriff Layman also reported that a deputy who was canvassing the area on Friday morning discovered that the Victory Baptist Church, also located in Cherryville, had been burglarized as well. However, no fire was set at that location. Law enforcement believed the two incidents were related.
Anyone with information regarding either incident is asked to contact Central Communications (CenCom) at 573-775-4911 or CCSO Detective Sgt. Rodger Windle at 573-775-2125.

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