The Merritt detachment of the RCMP are continuing their investigation into what is now four separate incidents involving arson and attempted arson to churches in the Nicola Valley on Friday.
Shortly before 2:00 a.m., RCMP were dispatched to an alarm at the Crossroads Community Church on Voght St. in which they and Fire officials discovered a small fire smoldering inside the building. Members determined that entry was made into the building and a fire lit which was able to be extinguished before too much damage was done.
While on scene at the Crossroads Church a second call came in about a fire at the Murray United Church at Nicola Ranch. When members and the Merritt Fire Dept. got to the scene, the church was fully engulfed in flames and unable to be saved.
On Friday afternoon at approximately 1:00 p.m. Merritt RCMP received another report regarding an abandoned church located west of Merritt on Hwy 8. The abandoned church was reported to have been entered overnight and a small fire lit that appeared to have burnt out before doing any damage and was discovered the following day. A second church nearby was checked by members on scene and evidence of a break in and attempted arson were also located at this church.
Police are continuing their investigation in conjunction with forensic ident and fire investigators.
RCMP are requesting any information from the public who may have seen or heard anything suspicious regarding any of the arsons contact the department at 250-378-4262 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.