A Southern Baptist church was one of two churches in the Athens, Texas, area heavily damaged by what investigators believe were arson fires set in the early morning hours Jan. 12, marking the third such church fire in a week near the East Texas city.

Local authorities are being aided in their investigation by the state fire marshal’s office and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities suspected burglary at the churches, but Athens Assistant Police Chief Rodney Williams said the investigation is in its early stages.

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