Reward Offered in Jefferson Church Fire

| June 19, 2010

JEFFERSON, Ga. – The pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Jefferson said Friday that he couldn't think of anyone who would set his missionary house on fire or why.

"It started in this area. When I came in, it was a huge glowing ball of fire," said Pastor Keith Cudd.

Pastor Cudd and his wife, Jennifer said they were trying to figure out why someone set part of their church complex on fire, destroying a house and two church vans.

"I really don't have any idea who would do something like this. Why would they do this? I find myself at a loss for somebody that would attack a church in this way," Pastor Cudd said.

Pastor Cudd said he took video to show the fast burning blaze engulfing the home early Thursday morning.

The four bedroom house is part of the church and is used by visiting missionaries. A group from North Carolina is now staying somewhere else.

"We were able to find another place that they could stay so they didn't have to take up the cost of staying in a hotel," said Jennifer Cudd.

"I went in there, this roof actually collapsed," said Pastor Cudd.

The fire burned so hot it melted vinyl siding on the church about 60 feet away.

Officials with Georgia's Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner's Office said the fire spread quickly because an accelerant was used. Investigators said because the investigation is ongoing, they did not indicate what type of fuel was involved.

The state is offering a $10,000 reward to find the arsonists.

"We're hoping somebody can come forward with the information so we can find out who did this so nobody else has to suffer the same kind of tragedy," said Pastor Cudd.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the state arson hotline at 1-800-282-5804.

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Category: Church Security