Investigator: Box set ablaze in church arson | NevadaAppeal.com

Investigator: Box set ablaze in church arson

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

Investigators believe a red butane lighter, found on the charred remains of a stage, is what an arsonist used on Dec. 2 to burn down the Connected Church of the Nazarene’s Carson City warehouse.

Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Bob White said the investigation traced the origin of the fire to a cardboard box set alight at the southeast corner of the stage in the church sanctuary at 900 Mallory Way. The lighter was recovered nearby, said White, but a forensic examination of it yielded no clues.

The fire caused the evacuation of several charitable businesses in the 10,000-square-foot warehouse building owned by the church since March 2006. Smoke from the fire also damaged toys being stored there for the Toys for Tots program.

The four-year-old church, with 175 parishioners, had the most damage of any organization in the complex. Fire officials estimated the damage at $1 million.

Connected Pastor J.J. Tuttle said that his congregation is using the Seventh Day Adventist Church on College Parkway for their Sunday worship services. The Adventist worship service is held on Saturdays.

Tuttle said it’s an estimated 18 months before his group will be able to use their warehouse again.

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Lt. White said several people have been questioned, but investigators still have not determined who started the blaze or why.

“It’s still under investigation, we are still evaluating evidence and interviewing possible suspects or people of interest,” he said.

Anyone with information on the cause of the fire is asked to call the Carson City Sheriff’s Department at 887-2500, ext. 41405.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.