A short-lived fire Friday morning at the parsonage of the Red Star Baptist Church is suspected of being caused by arson, the church pastor said.
At about 10 a.m., crews from the Cape Girardeau Fire Department rushed to the parsonage after receiving a call concerning smoke coming from its basement. The firefighters arrived and turned off the parsonage's gas and electric lines and contained the fire. The resulting damage was mainly smoke-related, and no injuries were reported.
When asked about its cause, an official from the fire department stressed that the fire was under investigation. However, when posed with the same question, Rick Crump, pastor of Red Star Baptist Church, said the fire department told him that it looked like someone had intentionally started the fire.
"It saddens me that someone would do something like this," Crump said. "We'd just looked at the parsonage earlier this week to plan repairs. I guess we have more plans to make now."
According to Kevin Sexton, a deacon at the church, the parsonage has been vacant since July and no one had been living there. He added that the damage caused by the basement fire was minimal.
"I was able to get a look," Sexton said, "and it doesn't look like a whole lot of damage was done down there."
Assistant fire chief Mark Hasheider said later Friday that the fire marshal was called in and the investigation is still ongoing.
1321 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO