Cause of weekend church fires still 'under investigation'
LONDON, ONT. -- Fires that destroyed the South Caradoc United Church and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church on the Chippewa on the Thames First Nation have been deemed suspicious.
Taylor George, whose family attended St. Andrews, say there is sadness today for those who still attend the church.
"There’s a lot of elders that are still going to that church every Sunday. They are still getting up, they’re still going, they are sitting there for the service. I have family members that still go to that church, all the time. Up until it was burnt down, so it’s sad."
It is early in the investigation, which is why OPP have yet to declare a connection between the two fires that took place just seven kilometres apart, or that this was Arson.
"We need to determine what the cause of the fire is, before we deem it to be anything. Whether it’s accidental, whether it’s part of the equipment in the facility, or whether someone has done it."
Just over a month ago, three churches on the Saugeen First Nation caught fire with significant damage to a century old building. A suspect was arrested in those fires, but Howe says he is aware of the speculation on social media, but it won’t change how the case is investigated by the OPP, Strathroy-Caradoc police, or the Ontario fire Marshalls.
"It’s really up to the investigation, it’s up to the information we have. It takes time to determine what actually caused the fire."
Meanwhile George says, there have been incidents in the community of vandalism and arson in the past but if it is determined to be deliberately set, she doesn’t understand why the church would be targeted.
"We’re shocked that it was the church itself. Because it’s been there for so long."
Howe says there is no timetable for the investigation but will update the public as new information can be shared.