King­dom Hall near Lacey is gut­ted by sus­pi­cious fire

The News Tribune - - Front Page - BY LO­GAN STAN­LEY lstan­[email protected]­olympian.com

An early Fri­day fire that de­stroyed the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses King­dom Hall near Lacey is be­ing called sus­pi­cious by lo­cal law en­force­ment, ac­cord­ing to a news release from the Thurston County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Lacey Fire District 3 re­sponded to the call about 3:30 a.m. to find the build­ing at 6526 Sixth

Ave. SE en­gulfed in flames.

The build­ing was a to­tal loss. No in­juries were re­ported.

This was the fourth time this year a Thurston County King­dom Hall has been the site of a sus­pi­cious fire. Fire de­stroyed the King­dom Hall in Olympia in July, after an ar­son at­tempt there in March.

At the Yelm King­dom Hall, a sus­pi­cious de­vice was found near the build­ing in Au­gust after some­one fired mul­ti­ple rounds at the build­ing in May.

“How frus­trat­ing it is that peo­ple who find a solemn place to wor­ship, and now it’s be­ing de- stroyed,” said Thurston County Sher­iff John Snaza at a Fri­day press con­fer­ence. “It’s not just this church that’s been de­stroyed. But now, what’re we do­ing about it? And it’s def­i­nitely hard try­ing to gather the sus­pects on some­thing like this be­cause it’s so ran­dom.

“We’re def­i­nitely us­ing ev­ery in­ves­ti­gat­ing tool that we can and ev­ery re­source. And that’s why we’re ask­ing for the Crime Stop­per tips to re­ally get us go­ing in this in­ves­tiga-

tion so that we can come to a great re­solve on this.”

Lacey fire crews, Sher­iff’s Of­fice de­tec­tives and fed­eral Al­co­hol, Tobacco and Firearm in­ves­ti­ga­tors along with a lo­cal task force are work­ing to­gether to con­duct the Lacey in- ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Why are they be­ing tar­geted?,” Snaza said. “Why is this spe­cific re­li­gion be­ing tar­geted? Why are these churches be­ing tar­geted? What’re they do­ing that’s so wrong? And I think that’s the frus­trat­ing part for any mem­ber not only at the church, but mem­bers of this com­mu­nity.”

Ja­son Chudy, pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for the ATF, said there is no work­ing the­ory as to why Thurston County King­dom Halls have been tar­geted.

Lo­gan Stan­ley: 360-754-5433, @LSscribe

TONY OVERMAN tover­[email protected]­olympian.com

A Lacey fire­fighter spreads de-icer in front of the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness King­dom Hall on Sixth Av­enue in Thurston County that was de­stroyed by fire Fri­day.

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