FBI investigating cause of Memphis church fire

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Federal authorities are investigating a fire which completely leveled a brick church in Memphis.

Investigators say members of Greater True Holiness Church of God had a cookout Saturday, just hours before the fire that evening, and coals may have been left smoldering.

Firefighters were called to the church around 5:30 pm and reported that smoke was rising from the building. They said heavy fire coming from the church forced them to back out for safety reasons.

FBI spokesman George Bolds said his agency sent a representative to evaluate whether it was strictly an accident or something more.

There were no injuries, but after the fire the brick church lay flattened. The congregation of 80 to 85 had to meet for Sunday services at the Bethel Temple.

Church leaders say the structure was insured and members plan to rebuild on the same location.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)