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Attempted murder charge laid after church fire in London, Ont.

On Friday, emergency crews were called to a reported fire at Grace Assembly multicultural church located at 360 Adelaide Street North. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

A London, Ont., resident is facing an attempted murder charge in relation to a suspected arson outside of a church in the city’s downtown last week.

On Friday, emergency crews were called to Grace Assembly multicultural church located at 360 Adelaide St. N.

Read more: Fire outside London, Ont. church started by person asked to leave

Investigators allege a man barricaded the doors of the church prior to setting a fire in close proximity. Police also claim the man damaged three vehicles in the parking lot before fleeing the area on foot.

Police say around 50 people were inside the church at the time of the fire, but all were able to escape.

No injuries were reported, and the church did not sustain any damage.

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Police initially reported that the man was inside the church before the fire and was asked to leave by staff. In an update released Monday, police said that new information revealed that the man left the building on his own before starting the blaze.

Christopher Richard Hoffman, 46, of London, has been charged with attempted murder, arson with disregard for human life, and mischief under $5,000.

While police said there is no indication that the incident was hate-motivated, police continue to investigate.

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