'Suspicious' fire starts in Missouri church Nativity scene

     (AP) – Authorities say a suburban St. Louis church Nativity

scene fire appears to have been intentionally set.

     The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Nativity scene in front of the

altar was ablaze Tuesday night when firefighters entered the smoke-filled St.

Monica Catholic Church. Crews quickly extinguished the fire.

     Assistant fire marshal Jerry McQueen, of the Creve Coeur Fire Protection

District, says the fire has been deemed “suspicious.”

     The Rev. Joseph Weber says it appears someone piled items, including a large

chair and the pulpit, on top of the Nativity scene before the fire. He says the

“entire parish has been violated.”

     St. Louis regional bomb and arson detectives are assisting Creve Coeur police

in the investigation. Police say the church was unlocked at the time of the



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