WILLS POINT, Texas (AP) — The seventh church fire this year in east Texas destroyed the sanctuary of Russell Memorial United Methodist Church in Wills Point.
Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen told The Associated Press that no injuries were reported in Thursday morning's blaze.
Allen says the cause of the fire is sought. He says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been summoned to Wills Point, about 50 miles east of Dallas.
ATF has said six church fires since Jan. 1 in east Texas are blamed on arson.
The 37-year-old Allen, who was baptized in the Wills Point church, said the fire continued burning nearly three hours after it was reported and "this building's a total loss."
A Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office dispatcher told AP that the fire was reported at 5:23 a.m. Thursday.