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6 fires at St. Louis-area churches under investigation

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ST. LOUIS — Someone has been setting fire to predominantly black churches in the St. Louis area.

Police are looking for suspects and a motive. St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby would not rule out the possibility of a hate crime directed either at churches or at African-Americans.

Since Oct. 8, fire has damaged six churches, all within a few miles of each other in north St. Louis city and county. In each case, the front doors were set on fire. Damage has ranged from a few hundred dollars at one church to the near destruction of another.

The fires add to racial angst in an area still reeling from a police shooting and unrest in Ferguson last year.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is helping with the investigation.