Investigators used an accelerant-sniffing dog to detect possible signs of arson. A sprinkler head controlled the fire long enough for a hose team to get into the building, which housed the Red Tavern for many years, Sullivan said.
The building has many void spaces and that makes firefighters nervous, the deputy chief said. The firefighters who responded to the fire did a good job of keeping the flames from spreading, he said.
The fire damaged a rug and some furniture, Sullivan said. The Haitian-American congregation will most likely not hold worship services there next Sunday, he said.
Salem, New Hampshire, and Lawrence crews assisted Methuen firefighters. The last unit left the scene at 2:24 a.m. Monday.