Feds probing rash of church fires in East Texas

January 20, 2010 9:07:39 AM PST
Federal authorities are investigating a rash of church fires in East Texas, where seven such blazes have been reported since Jan. 1. Police said the latest Tyler-area fire at Bethesda House of Prayer in Lindale was quickly contained Wednesday morning. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

The Lindale fire came after two weekend church fires in Tyler, about 100 miles east of Dallas. Authorities have not said the fires are linked, or whether arson was the cause.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives moved in last week after three church fires were reported over 12 days in nearby Athens.

The Athens blazes caused officials to re-examine a church fire in Canton, 40 miles west of Tyler.