Church fire caused by blowtorch

JACKSON, Tenn. -- Jackson fire investigators say a blowtorch being used by workers renovating a former downtown church was the likely cause of a fire that destroyed it.

The investigation continues into the blaze on Friday afternoon that consumed the former First Baptist Church, but Jackson Fire Marshal Wayne Arnold said Monday arson was not suspected.

Arnold said fire swept through the 175-year-old building in less than 30 minutes.

Interviews with workers revealed they had been using a blowtorch to heat roofing materials to make repairs on the roof.

The building owners, John Allen and his son, bought the structure in 2007 and planned make the main floor into a multipurpose space with apartments on the upper floors.


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