Fire Burns Chapel to the Ground

Early Thursday morning, a cemetery chapel near Arp burned to the ground. Firefighters arrived at the scene around 3:30, but the flames had already grown out of control. Investigators are saying this may be a case of arson.

The Smith County Fire Marshal's Office is now going through the process of eliminating accidental causes for the fire before officially classifying it as an arson. They have already been able to eliminate electrical or gas problems as a cause. And, there was no lightning in the area Wednesday night. But, Investigator Oren Hale says nailing down if arson is to blame is not an easy task. "The total destruction that we're looking at right now is going to make things really difficult to make that determination."

Not much is left of the church. The roof collapsed before firefighters arrived to battle the blaze. All that remains are burnt out chair frames, charred aluminum siding and the front brick steps.

Investigators do not believe this is a hate crime. But they have called in a dog to the scene to sniff for any chemicals which may have been used to accelerate the fire.