Courts & Crime

$10 million bail set for 2 charged with East Texas church fire

TYLER, Texas — Two men who once attended church together were charged Sunday with intentionally burning down a church in East Texas and are suspected in a string of similar blazes, authorities said.

Jason Robert Bourque, 19, and Daniel George McAllister, 21, face one count of felony arson for a church fire in rural Smith County near Tyler, about 90 miles east of Dallas, said Tom Crowley, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bail is set at $10 million each. They could face life in prison if convicted.

"Because they are charged with one doesn't mean they're not going to be charged with some of the others," Crowley said.

Bourque, of nearby Lindale, was arrested early Sunday in Van Zandt County, site of four of 10 church fires in East Texas this year that authorities believe were intentionally set, Crowley said.

McAllister was arrested in San Antonio, where Crowley said he had recently moved.

He said the men attended First Baptist Church in McAllister's hometown of Ben Wheeler.

The arrests were triggered by a telephone tip, although the suspects had been on the radar for several weeks, Crowley said.

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