Rochester church fire ruled arson

Last month, a fire that caused more than $2.5 million in damage to a Rochester church was intentionally started and authorities are asking anyone with information that could help them catch those responsible to come forward .

“The fire is the result of arson,” the city’s police department said in a news release Tuesday.

A fire broke out on the lower level of the Peace United Church of Christ just after 2 a.m. on April 18. The fire was mostly confined to an area between the sanctuary and an adjoining preschool, but there was extensive smoke damage throughout the building at 1503 2nd Av. NE, said at the time. Rochester Fire Department spokesman KC Clark.

A sprinkler system kept things from getting worse.

No one was in the building at the time and no firefighters were injured.

Rochester Police and Fire Department are asking anyone with a tip to share it anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or the Arson Helpline at 1-800-723-2020. Information identifying those responsible is eligible for a reward.

Information can also be directed to Investigator Todd Schwanke at 1-507-328-2894 or [email protected]

Services in the church’s sanctuary resumed, but other parts of the building remained closed, a church staff member said Tuesday.

Jerry B. Hatch