The State Fire Marshal's Office has ruled the Shay's Chapel United Methodist Church on York Run Road a total loss following Monday's fire.
Upon his investigation, Assistant Fire Marshal Mackey Ayersman said he found substantial evidence that someone broke into the church prior to the fire and was stealing fuel oil from the tanks located in the rear of the church. He also concluded that the burglar(s) spilled some of the fuel oil on the road in front of the church when leaving the area.
Ayersman said more than a hundred gallons of fuel were taken from the tanks prior to the fire. Investigators found a fuel container in a locked storage area, which Ayersman suspects was used to steal the fuel oil.
Ayersman said at least one other church in the area has reported a similar break-in.
The State Fire Marshal's Office had not yet ruled the fire an arson, but it said the fire is suspicious and will continue its investigation.
Anyone with information on who has been stealing or trafficking in stolen fuel oil please contact the State Fire Marshal's Office Arson Hotline at 1(800-233-FIRE).
Firefighters responded to a fire at a Preston County church.
It happened around 6 a.m. Monday in the Fellowsville/Newburg area of Preston County.
The fire in Shay's Chapel United Methodist Church was fully engulfed in flames when the fire departments arrived on the scene and requested help from additional fire companies, according to 911 officials.
No one was injured, according to officials.
Fire crews from Fellowsville, Newburg, Reedsville, Kingwood, and Tunnelton departments responded.
Firefighters called the fire suspicious, after other fires have broken out in that same area recently.
The State Fire Marshal's Office will investigate the scene later Monday.