Investigator: E Tennessee Church Fire Not a Hate Crime

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee Bomb and Arson Section director Jerry Rudden says there's no evidence that a Grundy County church fire was a hate crime.

Rudden says a fire that destroyed the Beacon of Hope Ministries church in Gruetli-Laager (GROOT'-lee LAH'-gur) is suspicious, but has not be determined to be arson.

State arson investigators began going over the evidence yesterday.

The wife of the pastor says racial questions came up because the church recently had a black minister from Alabama to come preach at a camp meeting.

Sonja Allen also says a keyboard and some sound equipment apparently were taken from the church before the fire occurred.

The Bomb and Arson Section is part of the state Commerce and Insurance Department.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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