Two church fires in Christchurch suspicious

church fires

Two church fires broke out in Christchurch early Monday morning and authorities are treating the circumstances behind the blazes as suspicious.

A cafe in New Brighton also caught fire at about 5.30am.

Fire crews were first called to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Burwood just after 3 am.

Less than half an hour later, at 3.30 am, fire crews were called to the Cardboard Cathedral, on Hereford St, after an automatic alarm went off – triggering an alert to fire authorities.

There was a small fire in a backroom.

A third fire occurred at the Beach Road Cafe in New Brighton early Monday morning.

Fire and Emergency say the large Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness building has extensive damage, and three crews were needed to put it out.

A resident who lives opposite the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses said she and her family woke to see large flames and fire and police crews.

She was worried the blaze would spread to the houses beside the church.

“I’m surprised that there’s so much [of the church] left,” she said.

Southern fire communications said the fire at the Cardboard Cathedral was out by the time staff arrived at the scene.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesperson said it was unusual to have two church fires within half an hour of one another.

In a statement, police said they are seeking information on three suspicious fires in Christchurch in the early hours of the morning.

“Police were alerted to three separate fires at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Parklands, the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral (Cardboard Cathedral) on Hereford Street and the Beach Road Cafe in New Brighton.”

Police and Fire and Emergency staff attended all scenes on Monday morning to conduct scene examinations.


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News category: New Zealand.

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