SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The investigation into a fire Monday morning at Springfield’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Presbyterian Church continues, and members of the small congregation remain shocked. But they are rallying together; saying that is what their church is all about.
Just after 5:00 A.M., smoke could be seen billowing out of the church, located on Concord Terrace in the Mason Square area. The fire was put out in a couple of hours, but not before leaving the inside of the building badly charred; devastating members of this faith community.
“You know, we will deal with the pain, the hurt. It’s devastating to look at. It feels like somebody punched you in the stomach,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery.
At this time, there is no exact cause of the fire, but city fire officials are calling it suspicious. Within the area, it is the third fire in the past three weeks. An intentionally-set fire in a church is considered a hate crime.
“You can set fire to the building, it can go away, but our church, through this pandemic, we have found that we are strong, and we will continue to do that,” MLK Presbyterian Clerk Ascension Lisa Baker said.
“This does not stop us from doing God’s work,” Curry Avery said.
The fire is being investigated by the Springfield and Massachusetts State Police arson and bomb squads, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.