A popular Texas roadside chapel built to resemble the Tomb of Christ was set afire Sunday by an unknown arsonist.
Church arson has been a troubling trend in recent years, and a roadside chapel in Brownfield, Texas is the latest target. Built to resemble the burial tomb of Jesus, the small chapel rests on Highway 380 in Brownfield, just south of Amarillo near the Texas/New Mexico border. A large cross stands just outside the chapel.
The Tomb of Christ chapel is open to all visitors and is often unmanned, and early Sunday morning, someone took advantage.
Officials in Terry County are investigating a fire at a large cross on the Plains Highway.
The Terry County Sheriff’s Office said the “fire department was toned out there” to the scene.
According to RoadsideAmerica.com, the cross and a stone replica of the “tomb of Jesus” along with a “rolled away round stone” are located “about 2 miles from the western edge of town, US Hwy 82/380 north side.”
The tomb is on private property, but is typically open to the public, said Terry County Sheriff Larry Gilbreath.
“Somebody piled some cotton in there on the table and caught it on fire,” Gilbreath said, adding that the table was destroyed. He confirmed the fire was being investigated as arson.
The Brownfield News reported via Twitter that the fire may have been intentionally set.
“Arson is believed to be the cause of a fire inside the tomb under Brownfield’s beautiful cross on the Plains Hwy,” tweeted Brian Brisendine.
No word yet if the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. No suspects have been identified. The extent of damage and the cost involved has yet to be determined.
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