Fire destroys Lynn church; was vandalized before


LYNN, Mass. ( — A three-alarm blaze burned down a Lynn church early Wednesday morning and forced the evacuation of a nearby apartment building, but there were no reports of injuries.

The El Siloe French Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Liberty Street will have to be torn down following a fire reported just after 5 a.m. Wednesday, Chief James McDonald said.

About 200 people were evacuated from the apartment building as a precaution and because the halls were filling with smoke, he said. They were allowed to return a few hours later.

The cause remains under investigation, but police say they are investigating nine reports of vandalism at the church in the last three months.

"We've had problems with broken windows. We don't know who is doing it," said Abner Polynice, first elder of the church.

The church building dates to 1895 and underwent an $180,000 renovation six years ago, he said.

The church has a congregation of about 130 people, many of them of Haitian descent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.