A fire which destroyed a historic Ida-Viru County Orthodox church is thought to be the work of arsonists, police say. The blaze, which started in the early hours of Thursday morning, is the second this year to have hit the church, a wooden building built in the 19th Century, with arson also suspected as the cause of the first fire.
The Emergency Response Center (Hairekeskus) was alerted to the fire a little after 4.20 a.m. on Thursday. On arrival, first responders found the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, in the resort town of Narva-Jõesuu, ablaze. The fire was extinguished a little before 6.15 a.m.
Regional daily Põhjarannik reported that wooden fittings have been totally destroyed, and fire damage was also caused to the walls and (metal) roof has been substantial.
Built in 1868, the church also suffered severe fire damage in February this year, when over 100 objects of high cultural value, including a collection of Orthodox art from the second half of the 19th century, were damaged.
The National Heritage Board (Muinsuskaitseamet) said at the time that around three-quarters of the artifacts could be restored.
Arson was also suspected as the primary cause in February's blaze, BNS reports.
A police investigation is ongoing, a spokesperson for the Police and Border Guard Board's eastern prefecture said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte