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Baptist church set on fire in Huston, Texas


The congregation of First Baptist Church of Genoa in southeast Houston are determined to rebuild after a fire destroyed the historic building.

“This church has been so much to this community,” Deacon Steve Hartman said. “It’s disheartening but at the same time it’s just property.”

He said the church was founded in 1895 and the main sanctuary was built in 1903.

The fire charred portions of the sanctuary, but it destroyed the fellowship hall, which was built in the mid ‘40s.

“Flames just came out of the vents,” said witness Flaco Hellion. “The [electrical] box started sparking. Next thing you know the whole building was on fire.”

Houston Fire Department’s spokesperson said crews arrived on the scene at 9:22 a.m. Sunday. But Hellion and other witnesses said they smelled smoke around 8:15 a.m. but weren’t aware of the fire until someone driving by flagged them down.

Hellion was working and removing trees the next block over on Freecroft Street when the fire apparently broke out. The Houston Fire Department’s arson bureau is investigating how the fire started and couldn’t release any further information.

However, Hartman said that arson investigators told him they believe the fire was set intentionally. He said he was told the arson dog detected accelerants.

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