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Fire destroys most of Perth suburban church building

A blaze destroyed most of a northern Perth Catholic Church in a suspected case of arson, police said yesterday.

Police spokesman Greg Medhurst said officers were called to St Dominic's, in Innaloo, about 10.20 pm local time on Saturday night.

"It is definitely being treated as suspicious and arson squad officers will be carrying out a thorough investigation to try to determine the cause of the blaze," Acting Inspector Medhurst said.

Fire and Emergency Services authority spokesman Peter Masini said authorities were at the scene yesterday but details about the fire were still sketchy.

He said he believed the blaze destroyed parts of the church and caused about $100,000 damage.

"When we got there it took about 15 minutes to bring the fire under control, which is actually not too bad for a building of that size," Mr Masini said. "However, it took about an hour and a half all up to put it out," he said.

A spokesman for the Church said he did not know how many parishioners would have been affected by the fire but it was likely some would have attended alternative services in a nearby suburb.

The spokesman said Archbishop Barry Hickey would visit the burnt-out church yesterday to assess the damage.

Archbishop Hickey said parishioners arriving for morning mass were shocked to discover the damage.

"You can see they're very upset," he said. "They don't know why they were targeted, if indeed it was arson. They don't know what's going on and they're looking for answers just as I'm looking for answers."

Church blaze deliberate, claim (Daily Telegraph/AAP 6/6/04)
Arson suspected in Perth church fire (ABC 6/6/04)

Archdiocese of Perth | St Dominic's Innaloo

7 Jun 2004