Burned black churches in Louisiana raise over $2 million after Notre Dame fire

OPELOUSAS, La. (KTRK) -- Some say a miracle is rising from the ashes of a tragedy in Louisiana after three church buildings were burned down.

When the fire in Notre Dame resulted in over a $1 billion worth of donations, many were wondering why the same response wasn't happening for three black churches in Louisiana that were set on fire last week by an alleged arsonist.

Church leaders began a GoFundMe page, but nothing was happening until writer Yahsar Ali sent out an SOS to his massive twitter following, asking for help. Now, over $2 million has been raised.

You can find the GoFundMe here.

The suspect in the fires that destroyed the churches is the white son of a sheriff's deputy whose father helped arrange for his son's arrest, authorities said Thursday.

Holden Matthews, 21, faces arson charges in the connection with the blazes in and around Opelousas, a city of 16,000 where the flame-gutted remains of the buildings evoked memories of civil rights era violence.

Louisiana Fire Marshall Butch Browning offered no motive for the fires. He and other officials stopped short of calling them hate crimes. Eric Rommal, the agent in charge of the New Orleans FBI office, said investigators were still looking into whether the fires were "bias motivated."

Browning said there were no indications that anyone else was involved and the danger to churches was over.

"This community is safe again," Browning said at a news conference. "We are extremely, unequivocally confident that we have the person who is responsible for these tragic crimes."

ORIGINAL STORY: 'Suspicious' fires at 3 black churches in Louisiana under investigation

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