Officials are trying to determine the cause of a two-alarm fire that heavily damaged the First Church in Malden Thursday morning.
Firefighters arrived at the church on Pleasant Street at 3:09 a.m., Malden Deputy Chief Philip Cargill said. No one was injured, he said.
“Evidently, homeless people tend to congregate there,” Cargill said.
He said investigators were exploring the possibilities that someone set the fire by accident or that it was started by faulty electrical wiring.
Cargill said the blaze started in a hollow column at the front of the church and caused $75,000 to $100,000 in damage.
“The whole front of the building will have to be replaced,” Cargill said.
The Congregational church’s pastor, the Rev. Patrick McCorkle, had no comment on the fire Thursday.
Cargill said firefighters had been sent back to the scene just after 7 a.m. for a possible flareup.
On its website, the Congregational church describes itself as a “friendly and progressive Christian community.’’
McCorkle said the foundation of the church dates back to 1648, one year before the city of Malden was founded. The part of the building that was damaged dates back to 1934, he said.
Firefighters from Everett, Revere, and Medford helped get the blaze under control, Cargill said.Kiera Blessing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.