SAN DIEGO -- Authorities sought Wednesday to determine who ignited a late-night fire that caused an estimated $75,000 worth of damage to a University Heights church.
The non-injury blaze at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in the 2000 block of Adams Avenue was reported about 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
It took crews less than 15 minutes to extinguish the flames, which burned a stage and an altar and caused smoke damage throughout the sanctuary.
Investigators believe the blaze was intentionally set by one or more burglars attempting to destroy evidence of a break-in, spokesman Maurice Luque said.
Emergency crews found items belonging to the congregation stacked next to the pried-open front door, where the thief or thieves apparently had been piling the valuables before fleeing due to a ringing security alarm.
The monetary losses were set at $50,000 to the building and $25,000 to contents, Luque said.