Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office asking for help finding church arsonist

McCalla, Ala. (WIAT) – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community’s help finding a suspected arsonist after Bellview Baptist Church was set on fire over the weekend.

Investigators have solid clues on who may have set the church on fire and broke out the front window. A neighbor witnessed a male pouring gasoline on the church and lighting it on fire.

“We had a Good Samaritan across the street who was coming home at the right time. Fortunately, he came across [the street] honking his horn and yelling at the guy and scared him off,” said Pastor Tim Hassler.

Police say the suspect fled the scene in a red Chevrolet Impala.

The witness was able pour a bucket of water on the fire and extinguish the flames before rescue crews arrived on the scene.

“If this church would have burned to the ground our people would have continued to minister and share God’s word and to share the gospel wherever they went today because it’s just a building. God did not call us to be a building, he called us to be a people,” Hassler said.

Hassler expects the church’s insurance will cover the damage cost. Classes and services will continue as usual.

If you have any information to help solve this case call crime stoppers at (205) 254-7777.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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