MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) - Officials say a fire at a small predominantly black church in Louisiana was the work of an arsonist.
The Advocate reports the fire occurred at the New Life Bible Center in Old Mandeville on Monday at about 9 a.m.
Brant Thompson, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's chief deputy, says the fire was reported by a passer-by who noticed smoke engulfing the building. No injuries were reported, but Thompson says three people were sleeping inside. One person was awakened by a noise and alerted the others.
Officials say there has been a reported theft of altar money in the last two months. In this case, nothing was stolen, but investigators did find signs of forced entry.
Thompson says investigators are reviewing video surveillance footage from nearby to identify a suspect.