State police investigating cause of Warwick church fire

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Police are investigating after a massive fire erupted from a Warwick church the night before Thanksgiving.

According to the Rhode Island State Police Twitter page, a detective and his K-9, the only police dog in the state that is trained to detect ignitable liquids, were called Wednesday to join the investigation.

Flames engulfed the historic Woodbury Union Church on Beach Avenue Wednesday evening, causing significant damage to the building. The church’s charred steeple eventually collapsed under the force of the water from multiple hoses.

The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire, which they said did not appear to be suspicious.

The Presbyterian church was built in 1908. Pastor T.J. DeMarco said the church’s cross and several musical hand bells were among some items that were salvaged from the fire.

As the congregation works to rebuild, St. Benedict Catholic Church has offered to take in parishioners for the time being. The church said they will offer their church and school to the Woodbury congregation for as long as they need and at no-cost.

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