Local News

Church Arson Becomes Online Music Video

Posted February 1, 2007

— Video of an area church covered in flames has become a music video on the YouTube Web site, prompting an outcry from congregation members and a federal investigation.

Two Jan. 13 fires destroyed Memorial Baptist Church and damaged Unity Free Will Baptist Church, both in Greenville. Authorities have determined both fires were deliberately set, but they haven't yet charged anyone with either arson.

"I forgive the person or persons who did this. We have no clue who they are," said Rick Bailey, associate pastor of Memorial Baptist.

But as Bailey and other church members try to recover from the fire, they were jolted again this week by another disturbing image. Someone posted home video of the Memorial Baptist fire on YouTube and made it into a music video set to Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire."

"It bothers me that someone would find the need to make light of something like this," Bailey said. "It makes we wonder how that person would feel if someone set fire to their house and videotaped it set it to music and posted for everyone to see."

A task force of local and federal investigators is working to find out who posted the video and why. Whoever posted the video likely won't face any charges, unless he or she is tied to the arson, authorities said.

Some people have already weighed in on YouTube with online comments.

"What a sad day for Greenville. I hope whoever is responsible for this will be punished accordingly," one comment said.

A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest in the arson cases.

Memorial Baptist members are trying to salvage parts of the church building and move forward.

"We see this as an opportunity to re-engage with the community on a different level. It has brought this community together," Bailey said.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • steve2 Feb 2, 2007

    Meh...this is news? Why did they post the video? Because they found it amusing. A cursory check of youtube would find many pairings of fire themed songs with videos of fires.

    It it not the poster's responsibility to have compassion for your tragedy. Worse, if is wasn't for the decision that some video on youtube is news, those emotionally involved with the story would never have had to know.

  • Lit Feb 2, 2007

    Wouldn't be surprised if the people that posted the video had something to do with the chruch fire. Its really a shame.

  • rguitarash Feb 1, 2007

    When is rev rb going to post a comment on here. This person must have allot of time on there hands because they post on everything

  • Bradley07 Feb 1, 2007

    Just when you think this world can't get any worse..........its does!

  • Ladybug Feb 1, 2007

    Memorial was my home church growing up. Its sad that someone has such little compassion to do something like this. I hope they catch whoever did this and punish them to the maximum - and I do think there were several people involved. God bless the members of Memorial Baptist where my Mother is still a member.

  • tarheelblue919 Feb 1, 2007

    to the person or people that burn churches, and to the person that posted the video on the net, God sees everything that we do. You may can sneak around and duck the cops, but you cant hide from the Lord. He is GOD ALMIGHTY! i pray that God puts it on your heart to come forward.

  • 2AMANDA2 Feb 1, 2007

    sad, just sad.

  • GIGATT Feb 1, 2007

    What a hateful act!

  • Red Feb 1, 2007

    Not Billy Joel! How horrible.