A Geelong Church fire is suspected by authorities to be an arson attack. The heritage-listed church was destroyed early this morning.
The fire service was called at Geelong West Presbyterian Church in Pakington streets at around 4:30 am, Friday. Around 30 firefighters battled to stop the flames from spreading to the neighbouring buildings.
Geoff Mcgill the Country Fire Authority spokesperson said, “Given the scale of the fire our focus turned to the protection of other buildings. As a result, firefighters were able to save two neighbouring buildings from being damaged.”
However, they were unable to save the building. No one was injured as there was nobody inside the church when the incident took place, reported The Age.
Police reported that the fire is treated as suspicious. Seven Country Fire Authority Trucks were used to subdue the fire and it was controlled at 6.15 am.
Shane Bailey, CFA station officer praised the fire service crew for their handling of the fire.
Bailey stated, “Fire crews were fantastic, their efforts managed to contain the fire to the church itself and obviously protect the neighbouring shops and properties in behind the church.”
Smoke from the fire was settling east of Pakington Street towards Latrobe Terrace, the authorities warned. People were also advised to turn off their air conditioning units and close the windows, reported ABC.
Church elder Luke McSevity said that he did not believe that somebody intentionally started the fire.
There were many cases of suspicious church fire in the past. Last year St John The Evangelist Catholic Church in Bannockburn, near Geelong was also destroyed by fire. According to The Courier Mail, firefighters found the historic building completely alight when they reached the spot. Last year in April four churches in Victoria set on fire. All those churches were connected to infamous paedophile priests Kevin O’Donnell and Ronald Dennis Pickering.
On Thursday, a suspicious fire also broke out in a Sydney building. It was the same building from where a Chinese student jumped to death.