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2 church fires Thursday morning

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news Dickinson, 58602

Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

A strange coincidence had church members reaching out to each other, volunteers lending a hand and emergency officials busy Thursday morning when two Dickinson churches caught fire in less than an hour of each other.

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No one was injured in either blaze and Dickinson Fire Department members split forces, contained the fires and spent hours cleaning up. The fires were not related.

Police arrested Dickinson resident Joshua Whitworth, 21, for alleged arson, burglary and possession of stolen property in connection with a burglary and fire at the Church of Christ, according to the Dickinson Police Department. He allegedly told police he went in looking for a place to warm up. However, he is accused of stealing items and then starting a fire to cover his tracks.

Officials say Whitworth is not involved with a fire at Hillside Baptist Church.

The American Red Cross provided support, including food and beverages, for emergency crews on scene and neighboring Gladstone firefighters were on standby in case help was needed, the Gladstone fire chief said.

Hillside was not damaged to the extent of the Church of Christ.

Members of both congregations say they won't let the incidents disrupt church services.

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