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Heating tools suspected in fire at historic Milwaukee church

May 16, 2018

The Milwaukee Fire Department hoses down a fire inside the Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Fire has caused a spire and part of the roof to collapse at the historic church in downtown Milwaukee. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee fire official says heating tools apparently caused a fire that destroyed a historic downtown church.

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Votsis says the tools placed on adjacent scaffolding may have ignited the roof of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Votsis estimates damage to the structure at $13 million and an additional $4 million in damage to the church’s contents.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a condemnation case was filed at the city, suggesting the church may have to be razed.

Votsis said Wednesday that the building was not structurally sound.

The four-alarm fire ripped through the church on Tuesday afternoon and caused one of its steeples to collapse. The church was built in 1878 and is one of the oldest churches in Milwaukee.

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This version has been corrected to correct spelling of ‘Votsis.’

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

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