Arson accused of causing costly damage to Rochester church

Rochester Police and Fire Department are appealing for the public’s help in an arson investigation involving a church.

A news release says investigators have determined the Peace United Church of Christ fire was the result of arson. The fire in the early morning hours of April 18 is estimated to have caused more than $2.5 million in property damage at 1503 2nd Avenue Northeast.

Rochester firefighters were called to the church around 2 a.m. and found a large amount of thick smoke in the building. The flames were confined to an area on the lower level between the school and the sanctuary, but there was extensive smoke damage throughout the building. There was also water damage from the sprinkler head which activated and helped control the fire.

Information useful to investigators may be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or the Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020. Anyone who shares information that identifies the arsonist will be eligible for a reward.

Investigator Todd Schwanke can be contacted directly at 507-328-2894 or [email protected]

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