Arson suspected as 145-year-old West Virginia church building burns down

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Authorities in Beaver, West Virginia are investigating a possible arson after a historic church building was destroyed by fire.

St. Colman’s Catholic Church in Shady Spring, also known as “The Little Catholic Church on the Irish Mountain,” burned down on Sunday, according to the Catholic News Agency.

In a Facebook post, the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department wrote: “Upon arrival we discovered that the structure was already fully burned and smoldering. At this time the fire is considered suspicious in nature and is being investigated as arson.”

The Beaver VFD also shared photos showing the charred remains of the building. The only part of the structure not destroyed by fire appeared to be the building’s concrete steps.

CBN News has reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling for comment and West Virginia State Police for an update on the investigation. We will post this information here as soon as we have a response.

The building of St. Colman’s Catholic Church. (Courtesy of National Register of Historic Places/National Park Service)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the original church structure was built between 1877 and 1878. It was a hewn log structure, which the National Register application explains was “still evident in the hand-hewn sills and joists that rest on the large foundation stones. The log structure was covered in 1928 with a large clapboard siding that was, and is, painted white .”

The church graveyard at the rear of the building was the main burial place of the Irish Highland community, according to the claim. The church building and cemetery were named a Raleigh County Historic Landmark in 1983.

(Photo credit: Beaver Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook)

The Beaver VFD is asking anyone with information about the fire to contact West Virginia State Police Private D. Daniels at 1-304-256-6700, the arson hotline for the WV State Fire Marshall at 1-800-233-3473 or Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County at 1-304-255-STOP or www.crimestopperswv.com.

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