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Federal Investigators Probe Fire At Geneva Church

Church Fire

Federal officials are investigating after a fire broke in a shed at the First Baptist Church in Geneva. (Credit: CBS)

Untitled-1 Kris Habermehl
Kris Habermehl is a lifelong Chicagoan who has been flying since the...
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GENEVA, Ill. (CBS) — Federal officials are investigating after a fire broke out last weekend at a church in Geneva.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports the fire broke out just before 9 p.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church, at 3455 Kelsinger Rd. in Geneva.

Three trash bins at the church were aflame inside a wooden enclosure alongside the building.

Because the incident involved a house of worship, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called in.

“There has been no determination if it was intentional — it is still under investigation,” ATF special Agent Tom Ahern said Wednesday.

The fire didn’t spread beyond the shed, but fire officials estimated damage at $5,000.

“We have a good idea the fire started in the dumpsters. We are examining evidence and conducting interviews,” Ahern said.

Ahern said the ATF is called in to investigate fires at places of worship in partnership with local authorities. The ATF conducts interviews, follows up on leads and brings in their own lab experts.

First Baptist Church spokesman Scott Salvati said the regular Saturday service was held hours earlier at 5 p.m. so it was unlikely anyone would have been in the building.

“Damage was done but nothing crazy. We are thankful that Geneva first responders arrived as quickly as they did,” Salvati said.

The Aurora Beacon-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.