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Bellingham church fire determined to be arson

Scene of a church fire in Bellingham (September 10, 2021). Photo courtesy of Bellingham Fire Department
Scene of a church fire in Bellingham (September 10, 2021). Photo courtesy of Bellingham Fire Department

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) and Bellingham Fire Department (BFD) investigators report yesterday’s 2-alarm fire was the result of arson.

BPD Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News in an email, “Based on the BFD investigator’s training and experience the fire was deemed an arson, and further investigation as to the cause and origin will need to be done.”

BFD Captain Dave Pethick told Whatcom News several neighbors called 911 to report the fire which appeared to have started around 4:25am yesterday, September 10th, in a single-story administrative building attached to the sanctuary. The office and sanctuary spaces suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage.

A firefighter was transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center with minor injuries.

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Murphy said the building currently houses the Ukrainian Evangelical Church of Bellingham and initial damage appeared to be several hundred thousand dollars. 

BPD detectives and crime scene investigators and BFD’s fire investigators are continuing to investigate this arson to determine a suspect, as well as cause and origin. Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to contact them via the BPD Tip Line at 360-778-8611 or online at www.cob.org/tips.

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