Fire at St. Luke and St. Matthew Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, that has been used for superstorm Sandy relief, may be arson according to CBS-New York:
Church leaders said the timing of the fire alone seemed suspicious.
“We believe that it was arson. There are some gas cans that were found at both entrances. So, it was intentional,” Father Chris Ballard told CBS 2’s Dardashtian. “Services have been canceled for today and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are on hold. We probably won’t be able to get back into the church by then but this is the season of reconciliation and what darkness lives in the hearts of the person who did this, we don’t know. But this is the season to forgive and try to be compassionate for the illness that this person has.”
Three Occupy Sandy volunteers were asleep inside at the time (the church has served as one of the movement’s headquarters since the hurricane), but no injuries were reported.
The fire spread to the church’s foyer and was under control within couple of hours.
No injuries were reported and the main sanctuary was not damaged, but part of the church’s main hallway will require repairs.
“When I got here about 5:10 a.m., I don’t live too far away, I saw smoke,” said Al Wiltshire, the church warden.
Members of the congregation were worried for what the church contained: supplies and Christmas gifts for New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Since the storm struck on October 29, thousands of volunteers, included members of the Occupy Sandy movement, have come to the church to be part of relief efforts.
On Saturday, a group of volunteers wrapped holiday gifts for children affected by Sandy at the church.
“We had about 100 volunteers in the church yesterday, wrapping gifts for children who were displaced by the storm,” said Michael Sniffen, the church’s rector.