LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- At a news conference this afternoon, fire officials said as of now they can’t say the three church fires in St. Landry Parish are connected.
Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning did say they all are suspicious.
Each site of these fires, all three historically black churches over 100 years old, are being treated like a crime scene.
“Investigating a fire is a very lengthy process,” Browning said. “It’s one of the most complicated and unconventional crime scenes you’ll ever enter because most of the evidence is burned away.”
All three fires were destroyed in 10 days. Because of that, law enforcement is increasing security at other places of worship.
“Whatever it takes to prevent these fires and destruction of our churches,” said St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz.
While the fires have not been connected through the investigation, the churches are linked through the District Missionary Baptist Association, and officials with the organization are stepping up to assist the affected churches.
“Having fellow pastors with sister churches of this district to offer the use of their facilities for needs for worship services, weddings or even funerals. Because in spite of these buildings being lost the ministry must continue,” said Freddie Jack, president of the Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association.
Fortunately the churches were vacant, and no first responders were injured while fighting the fire, Browning said.
“We don’t want to see any more churches burn but, more importantly we don’t want to see people injured,” he said. “If you’re going to turn to the house of God, turn to it for resurrection, turn to it for forgiveness and I think that’s what God will give you.”
After the news conference, law enforcement met privately with the ministers to offer tips on how they can tighten security of the church.
Sheriff Guidroz is also offering facilities to any of the affected churches to use for service.
He’s also encouraging other church leaders in the parish to reach out for security advice.
“We’ll provide whatever it takes,” Guidroz said.