Church fire ruled arson, police seeking help to solve the case - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Church fire ruled arson, police seeking help to solve the case

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SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -

Police in Kannapolis now say the fire that gutted a church was set.

On the morning of December 7 fire swept through the West A Street Tabernacle Baptist Church, leaving only the cinderblock walls still standing.

The outside walls are holding strong, just like the faith of the congregations at the West A Tabernacle Baptist Church. They've been meeting in the fellowship hall after fire destroyed the church sanctuary a little over three weeks ago.

A church member discovered the fire when he was bringing poinsettias to the sanctuary, but by then the fire had a big head start.

"I don't see how they will be able to save anything," Lt. T. L. Spry of the Kannapolis Police Department told WBTV. "Maybe some pews, but there's significant smoke damage even to those."

Kannapolis police investigators say evidence found in the church leads them to the arson conclusion.

They say along with the fire someone stole things from the church, including electronic equipment and that some of those things have been recovered.

Police think someone must have seen something that can lead to an arrest. The church is on a busy street, right across from a large nursing home with traffic in and out at all times of the day and night.

"I hope they do, I hope they caught if they know something," said neighbor Brenda Beaver. "I just thought it was awful that somebody would set fire to a church."

Neighbors Beaver will rest easier once someone is caught, and it may help church members to deal with their loss. Teresa Efird's father was a long time pastor here, news of this fire left her stunned.

"I just sat in the car and watched,"Efird told WBTV. "I was numb, I couldn't get out."

Police say they want to know if anyone saw anything suspicious on the night of December 6th or morning of the 7th, or maybe even in the days before the fire.

And anyone with information about this fire is asked to call Lt. Spry or Detective Jeff Harrison at the Kannapolis Police Department at 704-920-4001, or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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