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Fires strike 2 churches

DULUTH - Gwinnett firefighters extinguished two fires at under-construction churches in a seven-hour span, though neither appears suspicious, an official said.

Crews responded to the Zion Korean United Methodist Church of Atlanta, 3235 Duluth Highway, about 6 a.m. Thursday to find a small fire in the sanctuary.

Investigators traced the blaze to an area near a "scissor" lift used in construction, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge. It caused minimal damage to the sanctuary but blanketed the church in smoke residue.

A church staffer reportedly ran to Fire Station 7, which sits next door, and alerted firefighters while another called 911, Rutledge said.

"It's unknown at this time whether the electronic lift played a factor in the origin of the blaze," Rutledge said.

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

In an unrelated incident, firefighters responded to an under-construction church at 669 S. Peachtree St. in Norcross on Wednesday to extinguish a small fire sparked by an oil lamp, Rutledge said.

No one was at the church at the time of the 9:02 p.m. fire alarm. No injuries were reported.

Investigators have ruled the fire accidental, Rutledge said.