Arsonists target churches in Merritt area, RCMP warn
Published Saturday, January 12, 2019 1:20PM PST
Mounties in Merritt are investigating a string of arsons and attempted arsons targeting churches in the Nicola Valley.
Police responded to four separate incidents early Friday morning within the span of a couple of hours.
The worst damage was at the 150-year-old Murray United Church, which has burned to the ground. It is the oldest building in the valley.
"The church was fully engulfed in flames and unable to be saved," said Const. Tracy Dunsmore in a release.
Another church near the Merritt RCMP detachment was also set ablaze overnight.
Officers were dispatched to the Crossroads Community Church when its fire alarm went off. They located a small smouldering blaze inside the building and were able to extinguish it before it caused much damage.
Earlier that morning, they were also called to an abandoned church located west of Merritt on Highway 8.
RCMP said it appears the building was broken into and a fire was set but it had burned out on its own and did not cause any damage.
Officers canvassed a nearby church and found that it had also been broken into and there was attempted arson.
RCMP and fire investigators are working to determine what caused the fires.
They're asking anyone with information who may have seen or heard anything suspicious to contact them at 250-978-4262.