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Fire at Maplewood Catholic church investigated as arson

Parishioners band together after arsonist targets Maplewood church
Parishioners band together after arsonist targets Maplewood church 01:41

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Authorities in Maplewood are conducting an arson investigation after they say someone broke into a church and set fire to part of the building.

According to Maplewood police, they received a report around 12:40 a.m. on Sunday of a burglary at St. Jerome Catholic Church on the 380 block of Roselawn Avenue East. The fire alarm had also been triggered. 

When they arrived they found someone had forced their way into the building and smoke was coming from inside.

An American flag in the building was lit on fire, along with a keyboard in the basement. No one was hurt, but damage from smoke and water has the church looking at tens of thousands of dollars in property damage.   


"We're very grateful, and thankful that the damage was, even though its tens of thousands of dollars, no one was hurt. The sanctuary wasn't hurt. We can still have mass. We can still gather to pray, so we're very thankful," said Mery Beth Hess, the church's music director.

She added that they're a small yet might congregation, and they're counting their blessings. 

Authorities say it looked to be an isolated incident which resulted in minor property damage. Cleanup is already underway. 

Maplewood police are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the incident. 

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