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EMMETT -- The community of Emmett is breathing a sigh of relief, after police announced two men are in custody suspected of torching two community churches.

In the early morning hours of April 27, firefighters were called to the Community Bible Church on Hayes Street. Moments later after emergency crews arrived on scene at the Community Bible Church, they realized the First Baptist Church located at Hayes and East 1st Street was also on fire.

It has been two weeks since those fires, and on Monday, the Emmett Police Department announced that two men are suspected of committing arson.

Usually you say, shock and awe that this could happen, said Mayor Bill Butticci. But it usually just tightens up the community up tighter.

Mayor Butticci said in a way, the fires bonded the community together.

Butticci attends one of the churches and says that other churches have offered to share space for Sunday sermons to continue.

Those with the Emmett Police Department, the State Fire Marshall and Gem County have been working around the clock to collect evidence at the churches.

We are a small agency but we have a staff that takes a lot of pride in our city and really wants to catch the people that were responsible, said Emmett Police Department Lt. Mike Knittel. That coupled with the community support and the support from the other agencies has helped us a lot.

Police said the two men, who they believe did this, have not been officially charged.

Lt. Kittel said they were already sitting behind bars at the Gem County jail on non-related criminal charges.

There is still more evidence that needs to be gathered before the Emmett Police Department release the identities of the suspects, but Lt. Knittel said it could happen later in the week.

On Monday, both churches still sat charred but there was a restoration crew working at one of them.

We have been having sleepless nights here just wondering, said Mayor Butticci. You are always wondering how this could happen.

Now those sleepless nights are over for Emmett residents.








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