Merritt police investigating two early-morning church fires

Investigators in Merritt are looking into a pair of early-morning church fires Friday that are believed to be suspicious.

“Early this morning we responded to two structure fires. The first was the church located on the 2900 block of Voght Street, the second one was a church located along Highway 5A,” Merritt Fire Rescue Capt. Carl Johnston said. “Due to the suspicious nature of these fires, the investigation has been turned over to the RCMP.”

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The first fire sparked inside Crossroads Community church in Merritt, where police and the fire department attended alongside Crossroads board member Don Loewen after the building’s alarm went off.

“It is quite disturbing to wake up and see your church on fire,” he said.

A broken window was discovered on the scene, Loewen told the Merritt Herald, adding the fire was contained and did not cause significant damage to the building.

“They discovered a fire burning and there was an indication of arson,” said RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore. While they were attending to the fire, a second call came in for the Murray United Church, just northeast of Merritt on Highway 5A.

“That one wasn’t as lucky, that one appears to have been destroyed by the fire,” Dunsmore said. “We are treating them as suspicious and related just because of the timing and such.”

© Kamloops This Week

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