Vacant church fire is 3rd Clark County arson

Two other Vancouver churches set ablaze this week

A Google Street View of the Bethesda Slavic Church in Brush Prairie, Washington, May 29, 2016
A Google Street View of the Bethesda Slavic Church in Brush Prairie, Washington, May 29, 2016

BRUSH PRAIRIE, Wash. (KOIN) — A one-time church building was set on fire in Brush Prairie, the third arson this week targeting churches in Clark County.

The fire alarm at the one-time Bethesda Slavic Church, 11910 NE 154th, went off around 2 a.m. Sunday, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said. But the alarm was canceled when the “building’s responsible party” believed it to be a false alarm. The now-vacant building is owned by Daybreak Youth Services.

A few minutes later the fire alarm went off again, and fire was spotted in the room where it began.

Firefighters put the blaze out but not before an estimated $25,000 in damage happened.

Officials earlier said both a Wednesday morning fire at the First Congregational United Church of Christ and a Thursday morning fire at Liberty Bible Church of the Nazarene were intentionally set.

Damage estimates from Wednesday’s fire at the First Congregational United Church of Christ have not been made public. Agents with the ATF responded to the scene to help conduct the investigation. Officials said it is standard anytime a house of worship is set fire that the ATF is notified. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to a conviction.

Fires damaged the Liberty Bible Church of the Nazarene (left) and the First Congregational United Church of Christ. (KOIN)
Fires damaged the Liberty Bible Church of the Nazarene (left) and the First Congregational United Church of Christ. (KOIN)

The fire at the Liberty Bible Church of the Nazarene appears to have been started after someone broke out a window and potentially threw something inside the building which caused a flash fire.

Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway urges continued vigilance for all businesses, but especially for places of worship. “Be alert and report anything suspicious or unusual,” Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway said in a statement. “It may be a small detail that makes the difference in solving these cases. Also, make sure access points are secured, exterior areas are illuminated, and fire systems are in working order.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

The fires are under investigation by the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

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