Crime

KCK church fire investigation says blaze started by musical equipment

After investigating a church fire in Kansas City, Kansas, for signs of possible arson, federal agents said the blaze appeared to have been caused by a piece of musical equipment in the church sanctuary.

John Ham, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, issued the update Sunday afternoon after local police earlier said an arson investigators was sent to the scene of the fire. Fires at churches, whatever their cause, are routinely probed for signs of arson as a precaution.

The fire was reported about 1:50 a.m. after a passerby noticed flames coming out of the basement of the Wyandotte Tabernacle church at 1229 South 59th Street, according to police.

Arriving fire crews found the church engulfed in flames.

Flames were venting from the roof as firefighters attacked the blaze, according to Assistant Fire Chief Morris Letcher of the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department.

The roof partly collapsed and firefighters went into defensive mode.

More crews were called to the scene to extinguish the fire. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospitals.

A fire department arson investigator responded to the scene.

Kansas City, Kansas, police said the fire department was taking charge of the investigation.

The investigation continued Sunday, Letcher said. Damages were being assessed.

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Ian Cummings is the breaking news editor for The Kansas City Star, where he started as a reporter in 2015. He is a Kansas City native who graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012.
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