Two church buildings— one Baptist, one Catholic— were damaged by fires in apparent arson attacks Sunday morning in Brewster, a town in central Washington.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church suffered some fire damage near the sanctuary from an incendiary device dropped through a broken window early Nov. 15. New Testament Baptist Church, located a block away, suffered more serious fire damage to its interior the same morning.
Investigators have deemed the fire at Sacred Heart to be intentional, police say. The police have not yet made the same pronouncement about the fire at the Baptist church, but the investigation is ongoing.
Father Pedro Bautista, Sacred Heart’s pastor, told CNA that most of Sacred Heart’s parishioners are Hispanic, and that the community is “fearful” after the incident.
“This is just adding more stress to the lives of the people,” he said.
Father Bautista said he noticed the fire when he came to open the church on Sunday morning. At that point, the local fire department was already battling the fire at the nearby Baptist church, which appears to have been set around 2 am, and was discovered around 5 am.
The fire damaged a chair and some carpet near the sanctuary at Sacred Heart. Father Bautista said the fire department and the police were surprised that the fire did not do more damage.