Historic church falls victim to string of fires in Burnet County

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BURNET COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Burnet County officials are asking for help in identifying the person responsible for setting multiple fires in and around the city and county.

Investigators say the fires started happening in April, with the most recent fire happening to a 170-year-old church on Dec. 9.

“Inside the pillar is the historic bell from the original church in 1851,” said Christa Nolland. “The church has been a historic bedrock.”

Nolland looks back at what’s left of the memories that date back to the 1800s. Her great grandfather bought the land the church sits on, her mother played the chords in the choir and the congregation found rest among the historic walls.

“Sure you can replace it, but you can’t replace what we had,” said Mahomet Christian Church goer Sammy Watts.

Christa Nolland & Sammy Watts

Pieces of the hymns are scattered throughout the ruins. Investigators say they’re linking the church fire to 13 others potentially caused by arson.

“If it was an electrical fire, then it seems like it would have been easier to deal with,” said Nolland.

Fires similar to this one have been happening since April according to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office.

“The council felt like it was important to do whatever we could,” said Burnet Mayor Crista Bromley.

Bromley says the Burnet City Council approved a $10,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest.

Mahomet Christian Church may be a loss, but they say the roots planted will continue to grow.

“We will take the bell tower down, and re-hang it in our next church,” said Nolland.

The sheriff’s office says it appears the suspect is targeting places under renovation, outbuildings and a couple other small churches. They recommend people in Burnet put cameras up on their properties.

Mahomet Christian Church says insurance should cover some of their property, but a GoFundMe is also available.

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