• Arson destroys Jehovah's Witnesses hall in Lacey

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    LACEY, Wash. - UPDATE: Seattle ATF officials have determined the fire that destroyed a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Lacey early Friday morning was an arson. 

    ATF and the Thurston County Sheriff's Office are continuing to investigate. 

    Up to $36,000 in total rewards are now available. 

    Anyone with information on the arson is asked to call 888-ATF-TIPS or 800-222-TIPS.

    Previous Coverage: 

    A two-alarm fire destroyed Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Lacey early Friday.

    The fire that was called out at 3:42 a.m. is being considered suspicious because of past attacks on other Jehovah Witnesses halls in Thurston County. 

    PHOTOS: Person, vehicle of interest in attacks on Jehovah Witnesses halls

    When firefighters arrived, the building at 6526 6th Ave. SE was well involved in flames. Crews had to fight the fire defensively from the outside. Firefighters said the roof collapsed into the basement and the hall is a total loss.

    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive investigators at the scene say it is too early to determine to cause of the fire.

    There have been five attacks involving arson, shots fired and a suspicious device this year at halls in Yelm, Tumwater and Olympia.

    Two arsons happened on March 19 -- one at a Tumwater Kingdom Hall and the second at the Cain Road Kingdom Hall in Olympia. Both fires were started on outside walls in a similar manner. 

    A third incident took place on May 15 when someone fired about 35 rifle rounds into a Kingdom Hall in Yelm. Damage was estimated to be more than $10,000.

    The fourth incident, another arson, occurred again at the Olympia hall on Cain Road on July 3. Security footage from the arson and still photos of a man described as a person of interest were released, as were photos of vehicle of interest in the case - believed to be a 2017 Jeep Renegade or similar SUV.

    A fifth incident involved a device that was made to appear to be a bomb and an arson at the Yelm hall on August 8.

    Authorities all calling those attacks hate crimes. ATF officials said they believe the incidents were meant to send a message and were committed by a suspect or suspects with some sort of grievance related to the Jehovah Witnesses community or some other issue they think is important.

    So far, no one has been hurt. But ATF officials think it is inevitable that someone will be injured or killed if the suspect is not found.

     ATF is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible.

    In addition, the Arson Alarm Foundation is offering a $10,000 reward, and Crime Stoppers of South Sound is offering up to $1,000, for a total possible reward for $36,000.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS.

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