Fire officials say fire that destroyed abandoned church is suspicious

Friday, July 6, 2012 4:16 PM
Last updated 10:01 PM
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Augusta fire officials are trying to determine what caused the blaze that destroyed an abandoned church at the interchange of Marks Church Road on Thursday.

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Officials are suspicious of a fire that destroyed an abandoned church near Marks Church Road on Thursday.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Officials are suspicious of a fire that destroyed an abandoned church near Marks Church Road on Thursday.

It was the third fire in two days at the building. Augus­ta Fire Department investigators have not said it was arson, but the building had no electricity. Fire Chief Chris James said the building had been abandoned for years.

“It does raise a little suspicion,” James said.

Firefighters responded to the first fire Wednesday afternoon and were able to control the flames quickly, said Investigator Neal Brown. A second fire was reported around 1 a.m. Thursday, which also was contained.

James said the fire reported Thursday afternoon was more severe. Flames engulfed the entire building, and a smaller building behind the church was also burned.

James said it is curious that a church with no utilities could have three natural fires in two days, but investigators have not been able to call it arson yet.

Brown and investigators must study the burn patterns to be able to determine a cause.

In the meantime, the department is trying to track down the church’s story.

Gail Griner, who watched the flames from her Augusta Asso­ciation of Baptist Chur­ches office nearby, said the church used to belong to Curtis Baptist Church and was used as the First Baptist Korean Mission for some time. About five or six years ago, the mission moved to Meadowbrook Drive, and the church was converted into a day care for a few months.

The church was then sold, but Griner said its history since is unclear.

Brown said the department has to track down the owner.

Brown said. “These are things you want to know ... I never consider any of (the fires) routine.”


If you have any tips about the fire at 1128 Marks Church Road, call Investigator Neal Brown at (706) 821-2910.

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grinder48 07/06/12 - 05:37 pm

What does "at the interchange of Marks Church Road" mean?

texsmoke 07/07/12 - 07:31 am
Captain Obvious

Thank you Fire Chief. I would never have thought 3 fires in two days to be out of the ordinary until you used your super sleuth investigative skills to inform us.

my.voice 07/07/12 - 08:10 am
Commandment 11

11. Thou shalt not burn thy church, thy neighbor, or thy neighbors wife.

seenitB4 07/07/12 - 11:22 am
Think think

Now here we have 3 fires in 2 days.....where is Sherlock when you need him!

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