Capital City Fire and Rescue and Juneau Police Department investigators are characterizing a fire that spread through a church Tuesday as suspicious.
Crews arrived at Chapel by the Lake early Tuesday around 3 a.m. to discover a fully-involved fire.
After extinguishing the fire, investigators were able to determine the fire started near the pulpit of the church; however, they were unable to determine the heat source. It’s that lack of evidence that has investigators suspicious.
“We weren’t able to find any indication why the fire started or where it started,” said Capital City fire marshal Dan Jager.
The fire starting in an isolated area near the pulpit with no signs of a heat source is enough to raise questions on its own, but the fact the fire started between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. only raises more questions.
“The fire happened between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.,” Jager said. “That’s not a time when people are typically inside that building.”
Jager noted investigators have not labeled the fire as arson, but they are not ready to eliminate that option either. Until investigators are able to determine the cause of the fire, however, no option can be considered definitive.
Chapel of the Lake remains open, church administrators confirmed, and regular services have been unaffected.