WARRENVILLE, SC – The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division released a statement Monday night saying that agents have been unable to determine a cause of the fire that gutted Glover Grove Baptist Church last Friday. According the press release “agents were uanble to determine an exact origin or fire cause. As a result, agents were unable to eliminate all accidental ignition sources. Investigators observed no element of criminal intent. The cause of the fire was best classified as undetermined.”
The fire is one of six that have occurred at predominantly black churches across the southeast in the last seven days. In addition to the Warrenville fire, churches in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio have burned. Federal officials are investigating whether the fires are related.
Two of the fires have been ruled as arson and federal authorities have not launched any hate crime investigations. An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told ABC News, “At this time, ATF has not determined the fires are related. We are still determining origin and cause so we cannot say all are arson.”
ABC reports that the ATF is also checking the fires against its Bomb Arson Tracking System to see whether there are any commonalities among the fires.