Ohio Co. church fire turns to criminal investigation

| June 18, 2010

OHIO CO., KY (WFIE) – ATF agents and Kentucky State Police say they have no suspects now for the two fires at There Is Hope Community Church and Pastor Blacklock's home in Ohio Co., but they did find accelerants in Blacklock's home.

"I can't conceive anything I've done in my ministry, my personal life, or in any aspect to merit that," Pastor Darrell Blacklock said.

Blacklock has ministered in Beaver Dam for years and says he has had his ups and downs with the community, but is confident his ministry will continue.

"Someone made the suggestion that maybe they're trying to run you out of town," Blacklock said. "They can stop the building, they can stop the house but they can't shut my mouth."

Kentucky State Police and other federal agencies are trying to fit the pieces together from what's left behind.

"It seems suspicious, although we haven't categorized or labeled this an arson we're working it very hard as a criminal investigation," Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King said. "The church burns, catching on fire then ten minutes later the pastor of the church his home catches fire."

Agents and the state arson K-9 spent the day searching through the ashes at There Is Hope Community Church and Blacklock's home for any signs of arson.

Agents say they only found accelerants at the home, which have been sent off to the state lab.

"Working any type of structure fire is challenging in itself if you're looking into a criminal matter whether is be arson you have a lot of evidence destroyed by the fire," Trooper King said.

The only thing among the rubble and ash is a sign bearing the church's name.

Pastor Blacklock says the congregation will have to move on, pick up the pieces and keep hope.

"I've been given a lifetime sentence in Ohio County," Pastor Blacklock said.

A $1,000 reward is being offering for information in this case.

The number is 1-800-27-ARSON.



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Category: Church Security

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