Two-alarm fire at church in Heights may have been intentionally set

Arson investigators are still trying to determine its cause
March 26, 2014 3:36:29 PM PDT
Wednesday was another busy day for Houston firefighters, this time battling a two alarm fire at a church in the Heights. The fire broke out at about 12:30pm at the Heights Presbyterian Church at West 18th near Rutland, but the fire may not have been an accident.

Nobody was inside when the fire started, and it was contained within the middle portion of the church. Arson investigators are looking into this, but church leaders are convinced this fire was intentionally set.

The flames spread fast, with firefighters saying wind was a major factor in keeping the fire going through the building.

Church leaders say somebody broke in and stole speakers and computer monitors over the weekend. Then on Wednesday they say somebody or something set off the security alarm just before the fire alarm went off.

Alice Grable, the volunteer church secretary, says she saw somebody lurking around just before noon. Detectives are now looking into her eyewitness account.

She said, "He was kind of a tall heavyset person, not fat, but just big black man. He had on dark pants and a pullover like a polo shirt with big broad stripes, red and black and white. I've already told the police that."

At the same time, church members are working to figure out where they will hold services. They also provide meals on location for seniors and the homeless, which they say they will continue to do. For the time being, many of them are very worried and waiting to hear from arson investigators.

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