Investigation underway after massive church fire in Homeland

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Authorities were investigating Sunday what sparked a massive church fire in Riverside County.

Federal officials were investigating Sunday what sparked a massive church fire in Riverside County.

The blaze broke out around 8 p.m. Saturday night at the Community First Church of God in the 31400 block of Highway 74 in Homeland.

Firefighters attempted an interior attack until the roof of the one-story structure partially collapsed, forcing crews to make a quick exit and fight the fire from the outside. The fire was knocked down within one hour.

The church was closed and no one was inside at the time of the blaze, police said. No injuries were reported.

Fire official said the flames were so intense, the fire blew over toward Highway 74. Both sides of the road were temporarily closed but reopened around 9:30 p.m, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officials said the same church was burglarized just hours before the blaze, and investigators were working to determine whether the two crimes were related.

Because the building is a place of worship, federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, stepped in to help investigate the cause of the fire.
Related Topics:
newsfirechurch fireinvestigationHomelandRiverside County
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