ARLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Officials are investigating a fire at a church in Arlington Tuesday as possible arson, according to authorities.
“There’s definitely something suspicious going on,” said Arlington Fire Department Chief Kevin Kelley. “There’s been a problem with this building for the last few weeks. Actually, there’s been some vandalism, some break-ins, some other suspicious fires in the area, some outside fires. So that’s all part of the investigation right now.”
Just before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, an Arlington Police officer observed smoke coming from the rectory of the church. The fire department said that they found papers burning in the basement of the building.
Authorities said that this is the third incident to happen at St. Athanasius the Great the Greek Orthodox Church in Arlington. The fire occurred inside the rectory building of the church, which was under renovation and unoccupied at the time. The building in now boarded up.
According to the fire chief, the fire is likely not a hate crime.
Officials are seeking the public’s help for information about the fire offering a $5,000 reward.
The investigation is being conducted by the Arlington Fire and Police Departments and the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshall’s office.
Anyone with information on the fire, its origin, or individuals involved is asked to call the Arson Watch Reward Program Hotline at 1-800-682-9229. The Arson Watch Reward Program is operated by the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriters Association and offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information that solves or detects arson crimes. All calls are confidential. Tipsters may remain anonymous if they wish. Those with information may also contact the Arlington Police Department to speak with local investigators at 781-316-3910.
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