State and federal arson investigators trying to determine the cause of a fire at a century-old church in Arlington Tuesday, about 50 miles east of The Dalles.
According to the Gilliam County Sheriff’s Office, at the time of the fire, the Arlington Church of the Nazarene was in the process of repairing damage caused by an earlier fire this July.
Sheriff Gary Bettencourt says while his investigators had a strong suspicion the summer fire was deliberately set, the evidence recovered was inconclusive.
Bettencourt says for this latest fire, the Oregon State Police Arson Unit, the state Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF will all be taking part in the investigation.
“When these folks are done, this is what they do every day, I believe we’ll have our answer, whether it was arson or an accidental fire,” said Bettencourt.
Pastor David Gossett says the church will continue to hold services at its youth center, as they have since the fire this summer.
In a message posted on the congregation’s Facebook page, Gossett told congregants the church will rebuild, writing “God is bigger than a fire”.