Investigation progressing, team to hold daily briefings
POSTED: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 3:12pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 12:42pm
The locations of two church fire scenes are being investigated simultaneously. The investigation is progressing, with members of the ATF, City of Tyler Fire Marshal's Office, Smith County Fire Marshal's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Tyler Police Department are working cooperatively to determine the cause and origin of both fires.
The investigation into the Tyland Baptist Church (Silvercreek) fire is 40 percent complete and is progressing well. The First Church of Christ Scientist (Second Street) fire investigation is 60 percent complete and progressing.
Yesterday the structures were secured to allow investigators to enter the premises. Currently, debris samples are being sent to the ATF lab for analysis.
Additional church fires in the region this week include one in Temple and one in Lindale. The national response team in Tyler is aware of these recent incidents.
Thirty ATF agents along with several investigators from the Tyler Marshal's office are split between the two Tyler scenes. They are hoping to finish up the fire origin and cause investigation within the next couple of days. As soon as one of the scenes in Tyler is completed, the investigation team will move to the Lindale church fire scene
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the congregations affected by this tragedy," said Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass. "It is tragic that during this time when churches are doing their best to help community members in need, they now have to divert resources toward security. The Tyler Fire Department, in cooperation with the ATF, will do everything possible to protect our church community."
A briefing will be held at 10:30 a.m. daily at the Tyler Fire Department Training Room by the investigation team until the conclusion of the investigation.