Investigators treating south Charlotte church fire as an arson c - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Investigators treating south Charlotte church fire as an arson case

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Members of a Baptist church are trying to figure out who would want to set their church on fire in southwest Charlotte.

Fire investigators were called out to Providence Baptist Church, along the 4900 block of Randolph Road, on Wednesday morning.

The fire was reported just before 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the Charlotte Fire Department.

WBTV has learned that firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to small area and no one was injured.

Investigators say it started out as two small fires; one behind the sanctuary and another in the music office downstairs.  They are treating the fire as an arson investigation. 

They say a church member smelled smoke around 8:20 a.m., shortly after the church opened.

The church runs a daycare on the property, which was immediately evacuated, but it was not affected by the fire. They were moved from the main building over to another building.

Cadenhead says it is hard to believe that someone would target a church.

"Obviously somebody has an issue," Cadenhead told WBTV. "I don't know if it is directly towards us or at church in general."

Investigators won't say how the fires started but believe someone intentionally set the fires around 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

"We're very lucky," fire investigator Paul Wilkinson told WBTV. "The fires used up their fuel area and basically went into a smoldering phase and didn't progress any further."

The church is equipped with a security system, but investigators aren't saying if the suspect triggered the system - or how the suspect got into the church.  Video from the church is being reviewed as a part of the investigation.

Pastor Cadenhead says he's hopeful police will find the culprit.

"There are better ways of resolving issues than the way they chose."

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