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Springfield church fire deemed suspicious

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    SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts (WGGB/WSHM) — The Martin Luther King Junior Presbyterian Church was boarded up, as investigators comb for clues about what or who potentially started the fire.

The church is considered a relic of its own in the community, and city leaders said it’s a tremendous loss.

As the investigation here continued, community members said they will rely on their faith through this hard time.

The spirit of the Martin Luther King Junior Community Presbyterian Church lived on a day after fierce flames tore through the building, leaving just a few important items behind.

“We were able to get the Bible off the altar. We saved the cross. We saved the picture of Dr. King, and we saved I believe the picture of the bishop of the church,” Springfield Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi said.

Authorities said the fire started early Monday morning, and they are still trying to figure out if someone intentionally set the church on fire.

State Representative Bud Williams said that’s something that happened to a Springfield church back in 2008, and three people were arrested in connection to that fire.

“Many years ago, Macedonia Church was burnt down, but they built a beautiful edifice. We are going to come back bigger and stronger,” Williams said.

As for the church fire this week, authorities are investigating it as a possible hate crime; the FBI has stepped in to help.

Williams said although the church was left badly burned, it still holds the same values it did 41 years ago, in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We know that Dr. King’s message was always of love, peace, and tranquility, and working with the least of them working with the very very poor people,” Williams said. “That’s what this church stands for.”

Investigators were still trying to determine what caused the fire. There is a $5,000 reward for any information that may lead to an arrest.

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