Arson investigators are trying to determine who threw a makeshift firebomb through the window of a Tacoma church early Thursday morning.
The fire at the Church of God In Christ on Pacific Avenue South, which shares the large building with a day care, was first reported about 4:30 a.m.
"Whoever broke in, there was some gasoline that was found in a bottle; they had spread it out and ignited it. It's kind of smeared and there are hot spots and you can see it all over, so it was purposely ignited,” said James Hill, maintenance director for Pathways to Learning Daycare.
However, the building was equipped with a sprinkler system and the fire was contained and extinguished quickly. But what saved the building damaged a lot of the items inside.
Thursday afternoon, the ATF was on scene trying to determine who is responsible for this case of arson and why.
At the same time, Tacoma police are investigating another incident that happened the night before.
Someone placed a rock on the accelerator of a stolen van and crashed it into the building.
Police said there is no indication the two incidents are related, but they are investigating every possibility.
"Coincidental? Maybe. Suspicious? Definitely. Right now we have no connection between the two but just because of the circumstances it is something we're going to look into and see if there is something to tie them together,” Tacoma Police Spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
The building was empty during both incidents and no one was injured.
Still, church members and day care workers are worried about what might happen next.
"I'm deeply concerned. Two strikes in two days. You think about that. It gives me grave concern,” Hill Said.
"If anybody has anything, information either about the van being stolen the night before or anyone out prowling around last night, somebody that may have a grudge against the church or the day care we'd appreciate hearing about it,” Fulghum.
The day care is expected to remain closed until at least Monday or Tuesday.