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Children suspected of starting two fires at Anglican church in West Auckland

Two suspicious fires in two days at the Church of the Good Shepherd in West Auckland are being investigated by the police.

The vicar of the Anglican church, the Reverend Learne McGrath, said she is inclined to think the fires were started by children.

The latest fire this afternoon was caused by orange road cones being lit inside the church, she said.

Three fire engines attended the fire at Moire Rd in Massey at 2.25pm and quickly put out the fire. It only caused a bit of surface damage. There was no damage to the structure, said McGrath.

She said there was a similar fire in the same place at 10pm on Thursday. A large tag was also painted on the outside of the building.

McGrath was disappointed at the attacks on the church, which is being upgraded to provide food bank and budgeting advice for the community

She said it was the first time in the history of the church that anything like this had happened. The fires are being investigated by the police, she said.

“We are really hopeful it doesn’t happen again. It is a difficult site to secure,” said McGrath, adding the church is looking at putting a security person on site.

A Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said they received a call about the fire at Moire Rd in Massey at 2.25pm and sent three appliances.

A woman who lives across the road said she saw smoke coming from the back of the church, which is being renovated.

She said the fire had been put out and there did not appear to be much damage.

A couple of nights ago, she said the fire brigade turned up at the church and last night there was a series of firecrackers going off, “a lot of them”.

In December last year, a fire seriously damaged the historic 141-year-old St Stephen’s Church in Ponsonby.

Smoke from the blaze could be seen from as far away as Auckland’s North Shore.

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