ADA, Ohio — The fire Tuesday that destroyed a historic Methodist church is not believed to be the result of criminal mischief, authorities said Wednesday afternoon.
The fire, which started in the eastern portion of the church, was likely caused by unattended candles, which had recently been lit and ignited combustible materials, authorities said.
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The fire will officially be ruled undetermined because investigators were unable to enter the structure because of heavy damage and safety concerns, according to a joint release put out by both the state fire marshal and Ada Fire Chief Michael Harnishfeger.
A few homes near the church and a nearby library received minor damage. A home a block away from the fire also was damaged from blowing embers that drifted onto its roof. No one was hurt.
The fire at the 19th century First United Methodist Church at Main and Highland streets in downtown Ada was reported just after noon Tuesday as a group of about 20 young students in a Head Start class headed outside for a tornado drill.