Fourth area church fire reported

Jan. 11, 2013 @ 05:57 PM

The latest in a series of fires reported at Triad churches occurred just outside High Point in southwest Greensboro Thursday night.
Greensboro firefighters responded to an active blaze in an outside storage building at St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church, 5228 Hilltop Road, about 9:15 p.m.
The fire destroyed the small building, which was not attached to the church. The blaze was quickly extinguished and no injuries or damage to the church proper was reported, fire officials said.
It was at least the fourth fire reported at a Triad Methodist church since late December. Two occurred in southwest Rockingham County and one occurred in northwest Guilford County. The three previous fires are believed to have been intentionally set.
The cause of Thursday’s fire, which occurred just northeast of the High Point city limits, remained under investigation Friday.
“We are very aware of the situation with churches,” said Todd Lynch, deputy chief of the Greensboro Fire Department. “So we are really trying to take heed of any fires that occur around churches in our area. We’re not sure right now if it was any foul play involved — accidental or intentional.”
Greensboro police responded to the scene. Lynch said he hoped to have a cause determined some time next week.
Gideon Grove Methodist Church in Rockingham County was destroyed by fire on Dec. 22. A fire was reported at the fellowship hall of Mount Zion Methodist Church, located a few miles away, the following day. Investigators believe that the two fires were related and were intentionally set. No injuries were reported in either fire and no arrests have been made.
A third fire occurred at Bethel United Methodist Church in Guilford County Jan. 2 when someone used flammable liquid to set a mat on fire outside a side entrance. The fire caused minor damage and no one was injured.
No church fires have been reported in High Point since May 2012, when an intentionally set blaze occurred at the fellowship hall of Jewel Baptist Church, 2007 Dunmore Court, according to city Fire Marshal Mike Levins.
An arrest was made in that case.
“We’ve had nothing that seems to be tied to these,” Levins said. “As an investigator, if I had a fire in a church now, you’d look at it a little bit — I wouldn’t say differently — but I’d say, knowing what’s going on, it would be a flag.”