Two churches were vandalized and set on fire in Bethesda over the weekend

Two churches in Bethesda were destroyed and torched over the weekend in incidents authorities believe are related.

At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, the Montgomery County Fire and Emergency Medical Service responded to a call about a fire at the North Bethesda United Methodist Church at 10100 Old Georgetown Road. The main part of the church was unaffected and the damage was minimal, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the agency.

About 24 hours later, at around 2 a.m., Fire and Rescue Services responded to a call about a fire at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish at 9601 Old Georgetown Road — less than a mile from North Bethesda United Methodist Church . The fire damaged several pews but was quickly extinguished, Piringer said, adding that investigators believe the fire was started intentionally.

The damage was enough to halt activity in the main part of the church, and Sunday mass was moved to another part of the church, Piringer said.

Officials from both churches did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

Authorities believe the two incidents are linked and are continuing their investigation, Piringer said.

“They are certainly linked by the similarities in terms of time of day and location,” he said. “Several fires have been started or attempted to start at both locations.”

Piringer said both churches were also destroyed, but investigators did not “able to release this information at this time”.

Anyone who may have information is asked to call the Montgomery County Fire and Emergency Services hotline at 240-777-2263.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/07/10/bethesda-churches-vandalized-fire/ Two churches were vandalized and set on fire in Bethesda over the weekend

Dustin Huang

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