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Overnight fire that destroyed Civil War Naval Museum shed, boats being investigated as arson

Crime

An overnight fire that destroyed a shed and two vessels at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus is being investigated as arson, officials say.

The fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. at the facility off Victory Drive. The large wooden shed was located behind the museum close to the Chattahoochee Riverwalk and Bulldog Bait and Tackle shop.

“There were multiple points of origin,” Interim Fire and EMS Chief Greg Lang told News 3 Monday morning.

The most valuable pieces of the museum’s collection are stored inside the main building, which did not appear to be damaged, Lang said.

The suspicious fire came hours after Columbus had its first protests in the wake of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died while in police custody. The officer, shown in cell phone video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with murder.

Sunday afternoon, a peaceful protest including about 100 marchers was held in downtown Columbus. It lasted about two hours. A second protest march started not long after that. Columbus police arrested dozens of protestors at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and 13th Street. Most of them were charged with failure to disburse after warning them not to enter the road, according to police.

Neither march had a required city permit. But before the original march began, police met with organizers and said the organizers followed the instructions that were outlined. Most of the original march was contained to the Broadway sidewalks.

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