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National News

Spirits Undaunted by Charlotte Church Fire

By Rosaland Tyler

Associate Editor

New Journal and Guide

CHARLOTTE, NC—The choir rocked as people streamed into the pews four days after fire destroyed parts of Briar Creek Road Baptist Church.

A total of 14 engines and 75 firefighters worked to quench the flames at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church. Two firefighters were injured and treated for heat-related injuries. Church officials said damage to the education building, the sanctuary and gymnasium could amount to more than $250,000.

But only four days after fire officials said the fire was caused by arson, about 60 people walked into the church. Spirits were high although yellow caution tape was everywhere. A police cruiser sat in the front of the parking lot, and two sheriff’s deputies stood on guard.

The Charlotte, N.C. church fire on Wednesday (June 24) is one of at least five fires at predominantly black churches in the last week, including at least three that have been the subject of arson, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports.

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In addition to the fire at Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, an arsonist set fire to the College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Monday (June 22). The following day, God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, was gutted by flames.

According to the Huffington Post, other churches in South Carolina and Ohio have also caught fire, though it’s unclear if arsonists began the blazes.

Read full story in New Journal and Guide, July 2-8, 2015

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