National, state leaders issue statements regarding Louisiana church fires

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National and state leaders have spoken up regarding four church fires in Louisiana, one in northwest Louisiana.

Investigators suspect a small fire that damaged Vivian United Pentecostal in north Caddo Parish March 31 was intentional.

Three historically black churches in less than two weeks have caught fire, where officials say they found “suspicious elements,” in St. Landry Parish in south Louisiana.

U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) released the following statement regarding three church fires in St. Landry Parish and one in Caddo Parish:

“The news of these church fires is devastating for our communities, and our hearts go out to each of these congregations. While we do not know the cause of these fires yet, we do know that these tragedies lead to a renewed sense of determination and that the good people of Louisiana will band together to come back stronger than ever before. We pray for all those affected by these horrible fires, for the investigators as they search for answers and for a speedy recovery for our churches. We are working closely with local authorities and reaching out to these pastors to assist in whatever way we can.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement late this week:

“Our churches are sacred, central parts of our communities and everyone should feel safe in their place of worship. We do not know the cause of these fires in St. Landry and Caddo parishes, but my heart goes out to each of the congregations and all of those who call these churches home.

“I have directed the State Fire Marshal to work with local law enforcement to aggressively investigate the cause of these fires. If you have any information that may help determine who or what caused these blazes, you may submit tips anonymously by calling the Arson Hotline at 1-800-256-5452.

“In times like these, it is important for us to remember the words from John 15:12: ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’ I’m asking the people of Louisiana to follow this teaching and join their prayers to mine as we love and support these congregations.”