Community begins boarding up roof, windows of MLK Jr. Community Presbyterian Church after fire

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Restoration began Tuesday on the MLK Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield after the fire that burned part of the building on Monday morning.

“I was here a couple of Easters ago and I love the service,” said Springfield resident Teresa Foote.

Fond memories of a church now burned and uninhabitable.

“My mother-in-law is an active member here and when she called to tell us about it she was in tears. It’s not fair to her or any one else of the members,” said Foote.

The day after a fire at MLK Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield, the holes in the roof and windows are being boarded up.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS), the fire is not officially being called intentionally-set because the investigation into the origin and cause is ongoing but Springfield fire says it’s suspicious.

“Shame on the person who did this. You will be caught. You will be prosecuted and a message will be sent. No one, at any time, especially during the holiday season. Perpetuate this type of hideous crime,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

As restoration services begin at the church and windows are boarded up, members of the community are still left wondering, who would do such a thing?

“It’s a church. Who does that to a church? Just did reconstruction on the new roof and then some devil or demon is going to come in and they burn down the church. That’s not right,” said Foote.

DFS says fires in houses of worship are taken very seriously because they have a great impact on the entire community.

Foote says the community will come together, “People are going to get together to rebuild this church and the new roof. But I just hope justice gets done for whoever burnt it down.”

All possible causes are being considered as investigative teams work to determine where the fire started and then how.

A $5,000 reward has been set for any information leading to a suspect or cause. You can call the arson hotline at 800-682-9229.

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