Conclusions in conflict: State says Aurelius church fire was intentionally set, but county disagrees

Half Acre Union Church in Aurelius was a more than century-old building on West Genesee Street Road, and the place of worship for a congregation of about 70. But Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, a flame somehow sparked under the church’s baptismal font, burning for some time through the solid oak base and eventually crawling up the sanctuary’s wall and into the rafters.

Just before 10 a.m., the Aurelius Fire Department was the first responding agency to the scene, working to put out the blaze. Firefighters and church members carried some of the pews out the front door, trying to save what they could. Between the damage to the chapel, and the discovery of asbestos in the walls of the back addition, the structure was deemed a total loss.

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