Investigators believe the five-alarm blaze that ravaged a Dorchester Church on Saturday was set by an arsonist, according to a statement from Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.
The New Fellowship Baptist Church, at 616 Blue Hill Ave., sustained extensive damage when the fire tore through the building, which is located at the site of the old Franklin Park Theater.
According to MacDonald, investigators determined that the fire "had several points of origin," a sign that would point to the blaze being deliberately set.
About 130 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was reported at about 1:30 a.m. There were no injuries, but damages are estimated at $250,000.
Church members held a service on Sunday morning in a kitchen space next-door to the burned-out church. The enthusiastic congregation pledged that it would not be deterred by the blaze, despite extensive damage. At that time, police had not announced their findings about the cause of the fire.
"We have not lost hope, and we are not at the end of our rope," said Rev. Stanley Deas, whose sentiment was echoed by a vocal chorus of parishioners.
The church received a donation from a representative from the Nation of Islam, who said that the organization wished to thank New Fellowship for its service to the community over the years.
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