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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Fire Department is investigating a fire that started at a vacant church on Perkins in East Memphis.

A fire originally started at the old Colonial Cumberland Presbyterian Church at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, but another blaze popped up after 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.

The fire originally started in a first-floor classroom, but firefighters were able to get it under control. It wasn’t until the second fire started in a second-floor classroom that officials became suspicious.

Officials believe the fire was intentionally set and are now investigating this as a case of arson.

Steven Ramales lives just across the street. He says he got home from school Thursday to find the building engulfed in flames.

“I saw the flames coming out the windows, out the doors, they were trying to get inside to calm the fire down from the inside,” Ramales said. “I was kind of scared because I thought there was somebody inside the church.”

Ramales says he hasn’t seen anyone at the church since it shut down at the start of the pandemic. But he saw how quickly the flames spread and is reflecting on what might have happened.

“I could have been in the house without knowing,” Ramales said. “I could have been in that fire.”

No one was injured, but the building seems to be a total loss.

As officials investigate the fire, they’d also like to talk with whoever owns the building.

Anyone with information on who might have started this fire is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at (901) 528-CASH.