Authorities are investigating two churches in a central Washington town that caught fire on Sunday within hours of each other.
Both Sacred Heart Catholic Church and New Testament Baptist Church in the small city of Brewster – located only a block away from one another – suffered fire damage on Sunday night. Brewster Police Chief Marcos Ruiz said the fire at Sacred Heart Catholic was ruled as arson. In what Pastor Pedro Bautista called "divine intervention," a failed ignition device was found inside a broken window. The only objects the device damaged were a nearby carpet and chair.
At New Testament Baptist, however, 50-70% of the building's interior was destroyed by flames. The fire appears to have started inside the structure.
"I hate to use the word catastrophe, but that's all that comes to mind," said Pastor Corey Higdon in a Sunday livestream service with New Testament Baptist parishioners. "However, what seems catastrophic up front can be a blessing in disguise."
Pastor Greg Thorn of Calvary Baptist Church in Brewster said other area churches "are kind of on edge right now," but that congregations are banding together to support the damaged churches and discourage rumors while the police continue their investigation.