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Mon May 28, 2012, 11:13 AM

Church which served Twin Cities peace and justice activists burned to ground in apparent arson [View all]

Last night the Walker Methodist Church in Minneapolis burned to the ground in what may have been arson. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation there are reports that a neighbor witnessed two people running from the church right before it became engulfed in flames.

I have visited the Walker Church on several occasions as did many other Twin Cities peace activists. The Walker church was known as a place that opened its doors to activist groups that were organizing peace and justice campaigns, groups such as the Welfare Rights Committee and Communities United Against Police Brutality had offices located there and their organizing materials were destroyed in the fire. Michelle Gross who serves as the director of Communities United Against Police Brutality says that the fire started near her group's office and she believes they may have been a prime target of the arsonists. While she does not rule out the possibility that the fire could have been caused by lightning, the circumstances around the fire do appear very suspicious.

The loss of this church is a major blow to the Twin Cities activist community, the people of Walker Church have been absolutely great about accommodating those who were working for change and it will be difficult to find another good meeting place that will be as open as they were. While they were a Methodist church people of many different faiths as well as atheists gathered there because they were so welcoming of so many different people. They are saying they are going to rebuild, but this is no doubt a major blow to their community.

If this was arson the people responsible are apprehended very quickly, five firefighters were injured trying to put out the blaze and people could have easily been killed. This was a serious attack on our community and its effects will be long felt, we can not allow this to slip under the rug.

Three of the five Minneapolis firefighters who were taken to a hospital after battling a raging blaze that destroyed a historic church Sunday night have been released, authorities said.

Deputy Fire Chief Harold Breffle said Monday that two other firefighters were still in Hennepin County Medical Center's burn unit, but that their injuries were not life-threatening. The three others were released overnight.

The department has not yet released the injured firefighters’ names.

Fire broke out about 8:20 p.m. Sunday at the Walker Community United Methodist Church. Flames raged for hours and drew hundreds of spectators and scores of firefighters.The cause has not been determined. Some people at the scene Sunday night speculated lightning was the culprit, while close neighbors said they thought it could be arson.


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Reply Church which served Twin Cities peace and justice activists burned to ground in apparent arson [View all]
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