Fire officials are saying arson is highly unlikely as the cause of a Tuesday morning fire that gutted a church in Lineboro, Carroll County, just over the Maryland line.
Firefighters from multiple southern York County departments were among those fighting a blaze at a historic Lazarus United Church of Christ.
Maryland Deputy Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch said it appears the fire started in the ceiling and roof above the sanctuary in the 4,600-square-foot church, built in 1853.
"We don't feel that this is a criminal act that occurred here," he said.
An investigation by the Maryland Officer of the State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concluded that there was too much damage to the structure for the cause of the fire to be determined.
The fire gutted the church, and the damage has been estimated at $4 million, investigators said.
Firefighters from least six York County departments were called out of bed to help battle the fire, which was reported around 4 a.m. But by 9 a.m., all that remained of the church were some steaming exterior brick walls.
Glen Rock Hose & Ladder Fire Co. Deputy Chief Ronald McCullough said said his company sent two pieces of apparatus and about a dozen firefighters. York was also represented by firefighters from Jefferson borough, North Codorus and Penn townships, Pleasant Hill Volunteer Fire Co., which covers the West Manheim Township area, and Porters Community Fire Co. from Heidelberg Township.