ATF investigating Kansas City church fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has determined they are unable to find the cause of a fire at a Kansas City church Sunday.

Johnny Sherman spent Monday morning sifting through 40 years of memories after a fire at the Miracle Temple Pentecostal Church.

"It's really heartbreaking. My family can understand it's heartbreaking for our church to go down like this," Sherman said.

In 1972, Sherman's aunt Ruby Mitchell created the Miracle Temple Pentecostal Church.

On Sunday around midnight, flames engulfed and destroyed the one-story building.

"You know I'm just torn. I don't know what to think," Michael Hardy, the pastor with New Hope International Church said.

To neighboring Hardy, the circumstances are eerily familiar. His church right across the street has also been a victim.

On November 1, vandals broke in through a side door and damaged the inside of his church. Then last Friday, his church's bus was broken into and lit on fire. Hardy would let other churches rent the coach bus.

"It's devastating. You know that's money that has to come out of our pockets and with a small congregation we don't have it. We need help in this neighborhood," Hardy said.

Neighbor Karen Dunn asked the question that many have on their minds.

"We're wondering who's doing all this vandalism," Dunn said.

Once Samuel Simmons heard what had happened to the place where he was baptized, he drove 13 hours from Mississippi.

"I just came here to clean up all of this. All this is a lot of work and we've come and clean it up," Simmons said.

As clean-up efforts continued on Monday, Sherman sought what many in this situation would.

"We don't bother nobody [sic]. I just want the justice to whoever did this. I just want the justice," Sherman said.

The ATF, who normally takes the lead in church fires, has two investigators on the case.

They've used a K-9 that has the ability to smell accelerants to figure out where and how this fire started.

Until they find a new place to worship, New Hope International across the street has opened their doors for the Miracle Temple Pentecostal congregation.

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