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Two arrested as Lanarkshire church fire forces closure

by Sophie Drew

Two men have been arrested and charged in connection with a blaze at a church in Aidrie, Lanarkshire.

Jackson Parish Church - part of the Church of Scotland - was forced to close their weekly services "until further notice" after a fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Fire services are still investigating the extent of the damage, but officials have confirmed that the place of worship has fallen victim to "significant smoke and fire damage."

No injuries have been reported.

The two males charged with the fire will appear in court on Monday. 

The incident occurred just hours before parishioners were due to arrive for their regular Sunday service. The church alerted the congregation via social media.

The message, by Rev Kay Gilchrist, read: "It is with regret that we have to cancel the service today and the church building will remain closed until further notice."

She later thanked parishioners for their support and encouragement following the devastating blaze, saying: "No words are sufficient to say how much appreciation and gratitude I have for [the person who] called the fire brigade - the damage to the vestibule is extensive but could have been much worse without the 999 call.

"I have thanked him and his friends wholeheartedly on behalf of the church. Hope still lives on amidst the hurt and pain."

Police Scotland said: "We received a report of a fire at a church on Glen Road, Airdrie, around 4am on Sunday, February 13.

"There were no reports of any injuries.

"Two males, aged 16 and 23, have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident. They were expected at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday, February 14."

Jackson Parish Church has said they will reopen their doors as soon as they are able.  

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