‘Highly Suspicious’ Overnight Fire at Black Church in Massachusetts Being Investigated as ‘Potential Hate Crime’

Firefighters work to put out a fire at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Mass., on Dec. 28, 2020. Springfield Fire Department via Twitter

A “highly suspicious” overnight fire at a Black church in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Monday is being investigated by local and federal authorities.

Firefighters responded to a call at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church at about 5 a.m. on Monday morning, according to Springfield Fire Commissioner Bernard Calvi. It took about an hour to put the blaze out, leaving the church “unusable” due to the damage.

“It’s highly suspicious,” Calvi said. “There’s been three other fires in this general area in the last three weeks.”

Fire officials are working to eliminate any possible accidental causes while investigators from the Springfield Police and FBI canvas the area for any possible leads from witnesses in the area. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco and Massachusetts State Police Arson and Bomb Squad are also assisting in the investigation.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Doha Madani