Thursday, October 22, 2015

Seventh Church Fire Set in North St. Louis

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM

Unlike many other churches targeted in the string of fires, this one is not a predominantly black congregation. - PHOTO BY DOYLE MURPHY
  • Photo by Doyle Murphy
  • Unlike many other churches targeted in the string of fires, this one is not a predominantly black congregation.
A church fire scorched the doors of a St. Louis house of worship early Thursday morning — the seventh in the area in recent weeks.

Metro cops responded to an alarm about 1:30 a.m. at the Shrine of St. Joseph, a Roman Catholic church just north of downtown at 1220 N. Tucker, and spotted flames at the base of the entrance to the rectory, authorities said. City firefighters quickly stopped the small blaze, but not before the flames charred the edges of the heavy, wooden double doors.

Damage to the doors of the rectory at the Shrine of St. Joseph. - PHOTO BY DOYLE MURPHY
  • Photo by Doyle Murphy
  • Damage to the doors of the rectory at the Shrine of St. Joseph.

Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson told reporters early Thursday the fire was a "similar style" two six others from the past two weeks. "It's very disturbing," Jenkerson said.

Less than 24 hours before, Jenkerson had joined St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Metro police Chief Sam Dotson, county police Chief John Belmar and several dozen clergy at a prayer service at New Northside Baptist Church in Jennings, called in response to the rash of arson striking the metro area.

Unlike the previous fires in the north city and county, Thursday's burn struck a largely white congregation in a redeveloped neighborhood just north of downtown.

Authorities are offering a $9,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the string of fires. Tipsters should call 1-800-39-ARSON or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477). They can also visit STLRCS.org.


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