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King Day fire at W.Va. black church called arson

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The predominantly black Church of Deliverance United Holy Church was set on fire on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Elder Estella Nappier said her daughter believes the arsonist may have purposely chosen the holiday.

“I don’t try to think that way,” Nappier said. “I know I see it, and I don’t dismiss it. But I just try to think that nobody would do it, but it’s a possibility that somebody would do it  It’s just so hard, I tell you, to even think anybody would do that.”

Multiple fire departments responded to the site of the fire, on Mary Street outside of St. Albans, at about 4 a.m. Monday. State Fire Marshal’s Office spokesman Mark Lambert confirmed Monday evening that investigators had determined the fire was intentionally set, but he wouldn’t say if there were any suspects.

Nappier said the arsonist had kicked the door in. “[The firefighters] saw the footprints on the door, and it knocked the whole door off the hinges,” she said.

She and her husband rushed to the church after getting a call at about 4:30 a.m.

“At that point, we were just devastated,” she said.

About a year ago, Nappier said, a thief stole everything from the sound system and musical instruments to kitchen supplies and even Bibles…

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