Fire that killed Ga. reverend began in basement

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta fire investigators say a blaze that killed a controversial local pastor last week started in a laundry room.

Fire Rescue department spokeswoman Janet Ward told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( ) that the fire that killed 81-year-old Rev. Arthur Allen on Monday appears to be accidental, although the exact cause of the blaze hasn't been determined.

Allen and four others were convicted in 2002 of beating boys at his independent church, the House of Prayer. He spent two years in prison as a result of the case.

Prosecutors said that church members beat children with a belt strap while under Allen's supervision.

Church members said at the time that they had the right to punish their children when they misbehave.


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,