Ava church office fire was arson

| August 29, 2009

AVA, Mo — A state fire marshal’s investigator says a late-night fire at a church’s office in was intentionally set. Pastor Mike Freeman says Life Church on 3rd Street was set on fire around 10 p.m. Thursday.

"No one was hurt, this is all replaceable," Pastor Mike Freeman said.

Life Church bought the old home to use as offices in the mid ’90s. All it’s good for now is a little sweat from volunteers to tear it down.

"Take this obstacle with some help, build something that wasn’t here before," Freeman said.

Freeman believes there were trash cans lit on fire in every room of the house. The worst damage was in the kitchen; you can see daylight through the walls and ceiling.

The next room over was the welcome center. It mainly just has smoke and water damage. In this room is what the church is thankful for: a file cabnet that was hardly touched in the fire.

"We’re finding most of what we need to operate," Freeman said about the receipts that were found unharmed.

Computers, furniture and a building are a total loss. It appears the arsonists may have been after money.

"We did lose $150," Freeman said.

The pastor is relieved his building was the target. Maybe along with the cash, the looters will also receive something else.

"I hope whatever, is going on in their life, they find what they’re looking for in God," he said.

Surviving the fire inside what was Freeman’s office, coated with soot, is a simple piece of paper that is a window inside his faith. It says "To help people who are far from God find life in Jesus Christ."

"We love you," Freeman says to the arsonist.

The church’s database on a computer’s hard drive was lost but its financial records were all found. The church does have insurance on the building.

The sheriff’s department says there are no arson investigations that it’s working right now and Freeman says investigators found no clues at the scene.



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Category: Church Security

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