Series of suspicious fires hit Westside church
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Saturday morning fire at the Church of the Epiphany in the Westside was the latest in a string of suspicious fires to hit the church.
Lt. Mike Peery with the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said it happened just before 3:30 a.m. When crews arrived they found the church’s sanctuary heavily involved in flames.
"We've been here for this church before for fires in the past. So we were well aware of exactly what location it was," said Peery.
This is the fourth fire Action News has covered at the church since September of last year.
More than 44 firefighters were called to the scene and were able to bring the fire under control in about an hour.
No one was reported to be injured in Saturday’s blaze.
Neighbor Charles Johnson said the church has not been the only target lately.
"It was either apartments or a hotel that they were building across 103 Street right there that got burnt down. There was a house around the corner that recently got burnt down, the church a couple times has been caught on fire," said Johnson. "It's just an ongoing thing."
Arson signs are plastered all over a for sale sign on the church's property. It is still unclear what will happen with the property.
The state fire marshal's office is actively investigating the suspicious fires at the church and said this week that they have come across two possible people of interest in their investigation.
The church has been a part of the community for 55 years. According to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida,
Epiphany's congregation merged with St. Catherine Episcopal in February 2013 because of dwindling membership.
Individuals with information on the fires can remain anonymous and call Florida's arson tip hot line at 1-877-NO-ARSON.
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