Fire that damaged Concord church caused by 'human activity beneath structure'

Fire that damaged Concord church caused by ‘human activity beneath structure’

Fire that destroyed Concord church caused by 'human activity beneath structure'
Pastor Janelle Maher waits anxiously as investigators sift through the rubble looking for the cause of the two-alarm fire that swept through an older part of the church Thursday morning. The pastor feared someone looking for a shelter could have been inside. Maher was asleep in her Martinez home when her mother saw the fire on the early morning news and woke her. (Tamara Steiner photo)

CONCORD, CA, (May 14, 2021) –Investigators looking into yesterdays fire at Christ Community Church, at 1650 Ashbury Drive, have released their report.

The team has determined the area of origin and confirmed that human activity caused the fire. The investigation took less than 36 hours.

The 2-alarm blaze originated in the crawlspace under the church. Investigators found sleeping materials and other possessions nearby. They believe the possessions  belonged to someone temporarily sheltering under the structure without authorization.

Investigators could not determine whether the fire was intentionally or accidentally set. However, they eliminated all other possible ignition sources in the area of the fire.

A search dog helped investigators confirm that no human remains were in or under the fire structure. Moreover, no injuries occurred in fighting or investigating the fire.

Quick resolution

Con Fire’s Fire Investigation Unit (FIU) thanks all members of the investigative team – including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Concord Police Department investigators; and the property’s insurance investigators – for their support and commitment to quick resolution of this case.

Con Fire’s FIU urges residents to help them fight the crime of arson across the county by calling the Arson Tip Line at 1-866-50-ARSON. They caution residents not to hesitate in reporting information. Even details that seems too little or unimportant to matter can help. Some of the most valuable tips come from residents who were not aware what they saw was very important to the investigation of an incident.

At 1-866-50-ARSON, residents can leave a recorded message about fire-related criminal activity in English or Spanish. Tips can be anonymous, but all tips are treated confidentially. Fire investigators sometimes need additional information, so inclusion of name and phone number is encouraged.