Fire that gutted Bethlehem church ruled arson; motive sought
BETHLEHEM (AP) — Authorities say a fire that gutted an eastern Pennsylvania church was deliberately set, but the motive for the arson is still under investigation.
Bethlehem police say the blaze at Iglesia Pentecostal de Bethlehem was reported shortly after midnight Monday.
Captain Ben Hackett says someone apparently “entered the sanctuary area of the church and started the fire.” Officials said the blaze burned out before first responders arrived. No one was injured.
Police said the extent of damage was undetermined, but most of it appeared to be due to smoke and soot. A church GoFundMe campaign calls the interior “completely gone, not to mention all equipment, speakers, benches and instruments.”
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information in the case.