/Accelerant likely used to start Greenville church fire

Accelerant likely used to start Greenville church fire

Chief Ruben Brown stated that the accelerant was evident in the samples taken. Now, they are trying to determine what type. The state crime laboratory received samples taken from the scene and sent them to it for analysis on Thursday. Brown stated that results will be available Monday or Tuesday. After first responders found the words “Vote Trump”, on the building’s side, the fire at Hopewell Baptist Church last Tuesday made national headlines. On Wednesday morning, Mayor Errick Simmons declared that the FBI would investigate the fire as a hate crime. According to Katherine Cichy (GoFundMe spokesperson), the GoFundMe campaign that was started after the fire netted $211,215 in donations for church repairs. The campaign had more than 6,000 donations from 29 countries and every state, as well as the District of Columbia, by Friday afternoon. Some Greenville residents aren’t sure the fire was intentionally set or was an act racism. Polly Powell, who lives next to the church, called the fire department after hearing Tuesday’s alarm. She said Wednesday that she was unable to believe that a hate crime such as this could occur in Greenville. She claimed that break-ins had occurred at the church and that someone may have started the fire. Then, she said, “Vote Trump,” to cover their tracks. She said, “I don’t believe it has anything to with Trump.” Chief Brown stated that investigators search for two “precursors” when they examine a scene of a fire to determine whether accelerant was used. Brown stated that if a flammable liquid was poured in an area, it may have been more deeply charred. If the liquid was poured on carpet, then that carpet may still contain liquids and vapors. Greenville Police Chief Delando Wilson said Wednesday that they had spoken with a person of concern, but declined to provide any further details. He confirmed on Friday that the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms had been present at the scene and that they interviewed the same person. He stated that the person arrived at the office on their own initiative.