First Baptist Church in Montgomery damaged in possible arson

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Fires have destroyed an office and caused damage in the more than century-old First Baptist Church of Montgomery.

Pastor Mark Bethea released a statement Thursday saying the building was attacked overnight by an arsonist who tried to set fire to several areas of the building.

He says fast action by firefighters prevented the blaze from being a “catastrophic event.” But the office and reception area were badly damaged, several pews were destroyed and smoke is throughout the building.

Police and fire officials haven’t commented. Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement saying she’s saddened by what she calls a “hateful act” upon her church.

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