Fire at black Georgia church was arson, officials say

AP News
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 6:59 PM

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A fire that damaged a predominantly black church in middle Georgia has been ruled arson, authorities say.

The fire was reported at God's Power Church of Christ in Macon early Tuesday morning. Macon-Bibb County Fire Sgt. Ben Gleaton told local media outlets that investigators determined the fire was intentionally set but didn't say what led to that conclusion.

Gleaton says there's no evidence indicating that the fire was a hate crime.

Authorities have said electronics and other equipment also had been stolen from the building in two burglaries.

Firefighters in Charlotte, North Carolina, have said a blaze at a black church Wednesday also was intentionally set. The church's pastor said he forgives whoever is responsible and wants to move forward.

WBTV in Charlotte (http://bit.ly/1JmoKvf) quotes the Rev. Mannix Kinsey of Briar Creek Road Baptist Church as saying that he was afraid at first the church would be destroyed, but adding that the damage wasn't as bad as he thought it could be.

The fire damaged a wing of the building that houses education programs.

The two fires come roughly a week after nine churchgoers were fatally shot at a Charleston, South Carolina, black church.