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Probe: No Links Among Fires at Black US Churches

Law enforcement officials say weather — in particular, a report of lighting strikes — caused the fire June 30 that destroyed Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina.

U.S. federal law enforcement officials said Thursday that they had found no links among any of the six recent fires at African-American churches in five Southern states.

The Justice Department said two of the fires were started by natural causes and one was an electrical fire.

Spokeswoman Melanie Newman said, "All of the fires remain under active investigation, and federal law enforcement continues to work to determine the cause of all of the fires."

Fears that the church fires might have been racially motivated were prompted by the fact that they occurred in the weeks after the killing of nine black worshippers at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17.

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