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Investigators: Fire at Kansas church ruled an accident

March 6, 2021 GMT

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — A fire that destroyed an annex building of the First Baptist Church in Mission, Kansas, has been ruled an accident by investigators, and there will be no criminal investigation, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday.

“It was not a set fire, we know that for certain,” said John Ham, a spokesman for the ATF in Kansas City. “It is suspected that it was electrical in nature, but we will have to continue some of our investigative work.”

Investigators have released the building back to church, the Kansas City Star reported.

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Firefighters were called to the church around 5:30 p.m. Thursday after smoke and flames were reported coming from the church’s annex building. By the time firefighters arrived, flames had broken through the building’s roof, which later collapsed. The main building also had smoke damage on the second floor and water damage on the first floor.

Pastor Larry Scupham said he wasn’t surprised by the investigators’ findings. The church has about 50 members.

“We’re a close family and we’re going to stick together and we’ll make it through this,” Scupham said. “We’re going to have to relocate to some place here for a little while, but we’ll come through this.”