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Jehovah's Witness congregants working on rebuilding Olympia church destroyed in 2018 arson

Congregants of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Olympia are working on rebuilding the church. It will reopen in January.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A group of 200 volunteers is working on rebuilding a Jehovah's Witness church in Olympia after it was set on fire over four years ago. 

The Olympia Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses location was destroyed by a fire in July of 2018. Investigators determined it had been started by an arsonist. 

A group of 200 volunteers, all Jehovah’s Witness congregates, have been working to rebuild the hall in the same location. It is set to reopen in January.

Kim Taylor remembers first driving by her Olympia place of worship and realizing it was gone.

“It was actually really devastating,” said Taylor, “It was way more emotional than I expected it would be."

The fire that destroyed the hall was the second intentionally set fire at the location.  A similar fire in March of 2018 location only caused minor damage.

Between that March and June of 2020, eight Jehovah's Witness properties in the south Puget Sound area suffered vandalism, either in the form of fires or gunshots.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said a man in custody on unrelated charges has been identified as a suspect in the series of fires, but no charges have been filed.

Credit: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

A $61,000 reward is offered in the case, anyone with information can call: 888-ATF-TIPS.

Taylor, who has no construction experience, has been volunteering on the job site as a “go-fer.” She said volunteering on her weekends and time off is well worth it.

“The joy in having a part in watching something that was so tragic,” said Taylor, “I think it’s kind of therapeutic.”

Watch: Olympia church reopens after arson

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