A fire at an African-American church in South Carolina was an accident, as were most other fires at black churches recently.
The Department of Justice released a statement Thursday indicating that investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had found that the blaze that burned Mt. Zion AME Church was caused by lightning — not arson as many had feared.
The ATF, which investigated the fire, tweeted:
Mt. Zion AME Church fire in SC caused by lightning. No criminal intent. The investigation is complete. pic.twitter.com/SIY1yY4QmA
— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) July 2, 2015
Many black churches have suffered fire damage in the weeks since the murders of nine churchgoers at traditionally black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
That had prompted concerns about hate crimes.
But the majority of the churches caught fire either accidentally or through lightning strikes, like that at Mt. Zion AME. White churches also have suffered fire damage in the last two weeks, including by arson.
Soon everyone began breathing a sigh of relief.
— IG: @UncleRUSH (@UncleRUSH) July 2, 2015
New York Times writer Matt Apuzzo tweeted:
DOJ: Preliminary investigations indicate that 2 of the church fires were started by natural causes, 1 was the result of an electrical fire.
— Matt Apuzzo (@mattapuzzo) July 2, 2015
BBC Newsmagazine senior writer Jessica Lussenhop reported:
DOJ says three of the five fires at black churches around the country were caused naturally or by electrical wiring: pic.twitter.com/T7eKxgWagA
— Jessica Lussenhop (@Lussenpop) July 2, 2015
But not everyone got the message.
More than an hour after the ATF made its final determination, controversial Rep. Alan Grayson went on a Twitter rant.
When the Florida Democrat heard the ATF’s conclusion about the Mt. Zion fire, he tweeted:
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. It’s time for us to stop fiddling while black churches burn. #BlackLivesMatter http://t.co/c4BRS16m5A
— Rep. Alan Grayson (@AlanGrayson) July 3, 2015
He also promptly received this reply:
@AlanGrayson Meanwhile, Obama fiddles while America burns.
— Greg (@Flying59Vette) July 3, 2015
If history is an accurate indicator, he’ll continue fiddling for another 18 months.
Megyn Kelly, Dana Loesch blow up ‘black churches burning’ story; blast media hype
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