Local News

Federal Authorities Believe Church Fire Intentionally Set

Posted December 29, 2003

— Federal agents are convinced the fire at an African-American church Christmas Day was no accident, but members of the church try to make sense of the incident.

Murphy's Chapel Church has been a busy place for the past few days. Crews have been clearing away the damage caused by the fire as church members stop by to see the scene for themselves.

"The devil is going to try to hurt you any way you look at it, but we can fight it," church member Eugene Harris said.

Even though church members are ready to put the incident behind them, investigators are not. They believe it was arson, not an accident.

Pastor Willie Jackson cannot believe someone would burn a church, especially on Christmas.

"When I got the news, it was like I was in another world," she said.

The back of the pastor's study was scorched, but fortunately, no one was injured.

"It's going to be all right. I praise God that nobody got hurt," Jackson said.

Authorities say they do not have any suspects right now, but they have some "people of interest" who they plan to talk to.

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