Harmony Baptist Church fire

LEETON, MO (KCTV) -- An arson investigation is underway after a 100-year-old church was destroyed earlier this month.

A neighbor called the Johnson County Central Dispatch just before 11:30 p.m. on July 5 to report a fire at the Harmony Baptist Church located at 805 SE 251 Road north of Leeton, Missouri in rural Johnson County.

While the Johnson County Fire Protection District was heading to the fire, personnel were notified of an alarm activation from inside of the church.

Just before 11:40 p.m., the first fire crew arrived and located extensive fire involvement from the church. The fire was called under control just after 1:30 a.m.

Authorities said that four Johnson County Fire Protection District stations responded. Due to the rural location and the extensive fire involvement, over 50,000 gallons of water was hauled to the scene to assist with the extinguishment.

The JCFPD was assisted by the Warrensburg Fire Department who responded with their ladder truck, the Johnson County Ambulance District and Johnson County Volunteer Fire Auxiliary responded and assisted with rehabilitating firefighters throughout the incident.

There were no firefighter or civilian injuries.

“The preliminary cause of the fire was determined to be incendiary (intentionally ignited) in nature initiating an arson investigation,” the JCFPD said.

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The Johnson County Fire Protection District sent out photos of someone they are attempting to identify in connection to the fire. 

“This fire is devastating to members of our community. We need our community’s assistance in finding those responsible for this fire,” said Fire Chief Larry Jennings.

The arson is being investigated by the Missouri State Fire Marshal with assistance from the ATF. Anyone with information is requested to contact the Fire Marshal at 1-800-39-ARSON (1-800-392-7766) or the ATF by texting “ATFKC” to 63975.

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