Historic Catholic church in West Virginia destroyed in suspected arson

Historic Catholic church in West Virginia destroyed in suspected arson

The charred remains of St. Colman Catholic Church in Shady Spring, West Virginia, which was destroyed in suspected arson attack on Sunday, June 26, 2022. COURTESY OF BEAVER VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT VIA CNA

By Joe Bukuras

June 28, 2022

MANSFIELD, Mass.— St. Colman Catholic Church, a historic church located in Raleigh County, West Virginia, was burned to the ground in an apparent arson attack Sunday, according to the local volunteer fire department.

The small, white building was known as “The Little Catholic Church on Irish Mountain,” and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original structure dates to 1877-1888, according to the register.

“On 6/26/2022 units from Beaver VFD were alerted to a structure fire at the Saint Colman Catholic Church on Irish Mountain Road in Shady Spring, WV,” the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department said in an online post.

Once the department arrived at the scene, the church had already burned to the ground and was “smoldering,” the post says. The post says the fire is considered “suspicious in nature.” The fire is being investigated as arson, the post says.

St. Colman’s is located in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. CNA contacted the diocese for more information but no one was immediately available for comment Monday morning.

The fire department is asking anyone with relevant information to contact West Virginia State Police Trooper D. Daniels at (304) 256-6700. Other points of contact are the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline at 1 (800) 233-3473, Crime Stoppers of Raleigh County at 304-255-STOP, or www.crimestopperswv.com.

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