Fire Set in San Diego Jehovah's Witnesses Hall

SAN DIEGO --

Investigators are trying to find out who set fire to a place of worship in University Heights late Tuesday evening.

Police discovered the fire at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in the 2000 block of Adams Avenue just before midnight when the burglar alarm went off.

When officers arrived, they found someone had pried open the front door and there was also a small fire burning inside. Firefighters put out the flames before they could spread through the building.

Investigators believe the blaze was intentionally set by one or more burglars attempting to destroy evidence of a break-in, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said.

"It was contained to the stage area, up the wall and into the ceiling, it didn't extend into the interior of the building beyond much more than that," said San Diego firefighter Chuck Adams.

Members of the Kingdom Hall did confirm that items were stolen, though they aren't currently saying what was taken. Police said electronics and other equipment were found stacked near a door.

The Metro Arson Strike Team took over the investigation once the fire was knocked down. Investigators told 10News matches were used to set multiple fires near the stage and drapes.

Police said they have no reason to think the incident is a hate crime.

Damage and the loss of contents are estimated at around $75,000. The Kingdom Hall will be closed for a while because of smoke damage, members told 10News.

A member of the hall told 10News the Kingdom Hall is one of the oldest in San Diego. It opened more than 50 years ago.

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