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Who is Burning Down Texas Churches?

(AP Photo/Chris Vinn)
TYLER, Texas (CBS/AP) An arsonist may be targeting east Texas churches, according to investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who say the attacker may be responsible for at least 10 fires since the beginning of the year.

Photo: Firefighters battle a blaze at Dover Baptist Church in east Texas.

The two most recent blazes occurred in a rural area near Tyler, about 85 miles northeast of Dallas. Two churches, three miles apart, caught on fire. The fires were reported within an hour of each other.

Investigators have not confirmed that they were both arson, but say they are looking at eight other fires within 130 miles of Dallas that were intentionally set since the start of the year.

Public information officer for the ATF, Tom Crowley, says investigators are releasing little evidence in the cases, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"They're going to probably want to keep a lot of things close to the vest," Crowley told the paper. "If somebody comes in and says 'I did it' he has to know something only the arsonist knows."

There were no injuries reported at either of the recent fires but the pastor at the Dover Baptist Church in Carroll, about 18 miles northwest of Tyler, says aside from a few papers in a safe his church is a total loss.

A $10,000 reward is being offered and anyone with information is asked to contact the ATF field office in Dallas.
  • Carlin Miller

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