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ATF Offers Reward for Information Connected to 2-Alarm Church Fire

Federal officials are currently offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information related to a church fire that happened in Columbia on March 19, 2020.

Columbia-Richland fire crews responded to the Whaley Street United Methodist Church just before midnight. When firefighters arrived on scene they found fire coming from several windows of the building. No one was inside the church at the time and there were no injuries reported.

Crews were able to contain the fire to its room of origin. The South Carolia Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was then called in to investigate, which is standard procedure in response to all church fires.

The ATF is now offering the reward for information. According to federal investigators it has been determined that an incendiary agent was used to start the fire. ATF is assisting the Columbia Police Department and the Columbia-Richland Fire Department in this ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to call ATF’s toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477).

For more information about ATF, go to