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Fire destroys World War II-era church in NC

WEST JEFFERSON, N.C. (AP) – Ashe County authorities are investigating a fire that destroyed a church built during World War II.

The Charlotte Observer reports that North Beaver Baptist Church on N.C. 163 near West Jefferson was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The church dates back to 1943.

The Ashe County Sheriff’s Office said the fire is suspicious in nature and there might have been a break-in before the blaze broke out. A sheriff’s deputy noticed the flames while on patrol.

Damage to the church was estimated at $750,000.

A funeral home in West Jefferson allowed church members to use their facility for worship services Sunday.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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