Historic Houston church fire deemed suspicious in Fifth Ward

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A local church congregation and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee discussed a suspicious fire at a historic Fifth Ward Church today.

The fire happened Wednesday morning and damaged the Missionary Baptist Church along Noble near Waco.

The building that burned sits next to the sanctuary. Church members are very concerned about the fire. Investigators say the fire may be a case of arson.

In the wake of the Charleston church massacre, church members worry if this was a hate crime.

"The backdoor of the building was pried open about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, and it appears whoever did that threw in some kind of accelerant in and just left," said Claude Cummings, Chairman of the deacon board at Missionary Baptist Church

"The question comes whether it is a hate crime, which then gets referred to the FBI, we're not at that point yet," said US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

Worshippers told Eyewitness News that they will allow investigators time to do their job.
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