LATEST: A suspicious blaze at a historic church in Christchurch this morning destroyed an $800,000 organ.
Police carrying out patrols in the area spotted the fire at St Paul's Trinity Pacific Church, on the corner of Cashel and Madras streets, shortly before 3.30am and alerted the Fire Service.
Six fire crews managed to bring the blaze under control quickly, but the property was still extensively damaged, Fire Service area commander Dan Coward said.
The blaze was being treated as suspicious and police were investigating.
Reverend Lapana Faletolu said a $800,000 organ had been destroyed and the building's structure was damaged.
The church is listed as a Group 1 protected heritage item and was also registered by the Historic Places Trust as a Category I Historic Place.
Earlier this year it received a Christchurch City Council heritage grant of $638,000 for maintenance and strengthening work over the next four years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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