Fire destroys 19th-century Tuscaloosa church

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Fire officials in Tuscaloosa say a church dating back to the 19th century has been destroyed by fire.

Lt. Travis Parker of the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service says firefighters were alerted to a fire Wednesday afternoon at Beautiful Zion AME Church. He says that when firefighters arrived on the scene, the church was engulfed in flame.

Parker said the cause of the fire is being investigated, but it doesn't appear to be a case of arson. The state fire marshal's office also sent investigators to the scene.

The Tuscaloosa News reported that the church was founded in 1870 by freed slaves. It has been at its current location since 1896.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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