Local News

Authorities offer $10K reward in Clayton church fires

Posted June 8, 2009
Updated February 13, 2011

— Authorities announced Monday a reward of up to $10,000 for information that helps solve the burning of a Clayton church hit by two fires exactly a month apart.

Investigators believe that fires were intentionally set at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 5217 Barber Mill Road, in the early hours of May 6 and June 6. Police said the most recent fire likely damaged the church beyond repair.

Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Clayton. Reward offered in Clayton church fires

"Every indication is that this weekend's fire was set by the same person or persons that set the May 6 fire," Clayton Police Chief Glen B. Allen said. "We urge anyone that might have information about this appalling crime to come forward."

The church's insurance provider, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Clayton Police Department are offering the reward.

Anyone with information about should call Clayton police at 919-553-4611, Clayton Crime Stoppers at 919-359-8479 or 911. Callers to Crime Stoppers never have to identify themselves.

Investigators said they are considering all possibilities for a motive, including whether someone had a grudge against the church's staff or its members.

"Right now, we're looking at any possibility," Clayton Police Capt. John Gerrell said. "We don't have any specific suspects right now."

Church pastor Rev. Darrell Sauls said this weekend's fire originated in both the sanctuary and Sunday School wing. The fire toppled the church's steeple and destroyed repairs from the May 6 fire.

The earlier fire left two holes in the church's roof and caused extensive damage to the sanctuary. Investigators found that the sanctuary and community center had been broken into May 6, but nothing was nothing was stolen.

This Sunday, Amelia Christian Church lent its old sanctuary for the 100-member Mount Calvary congregation to hold services. After the first fire, the congregation met in a local funeral home and then the church's community center.

Mount Calvary has had a congregation in Clayton for almost a century, and the building that burned was built in the 1980s, Sauls said.

"I definitely think it not only affects the community, it affects the people that go to church, the people that visit that church, the families of the people of that church," Gerrell said. "It affects so many people. It's a terrible crime."


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  • loulou Jun 9, 2009

    Yes, he allowed this there is no doubt. He is always in control. I pray for his will only, not mine. This fire was not what I wanted, but he wants. So again, I thank God for everything, but I don't expect you to understand that.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 9, 2009

    southernbarb, what does "paid for" have to do with it? Are you saying that you (they) have no insurance on the building?...and both of these rebuilds are out of your pocket. I mean, THAT would show real "faith". lol

    loakl, I guess the moderators don't like my "bad Zues, god of gods" comment...'cuz he's the one who allowed this...and you must not be praying hard enough to stop him. ;-)

  • Southernbornbarb Jun 8, 2009

    Think again about insurance fraud! The church was paid for a long time ago and we had no trouble meeting the bills. That would have been the last reason it would have been burned. Evidently the ones that made the remarks aren't familiar with the church at all.

  • redapace Jun 8, 2009

    Thou shall not commit insurance fraud.

  • Ptah Jun 8, 2009

    If there were gods and angels, this kind of thing wouldn't happen anyway. No satans, devils, he-double hockey sticks, either. I'd suspect insurance fraud if anything. You know how those of that religion really are.

  • takecare_of_others Jun 8, 2009

    Dont be quick to point the finger to a outsider!!! Churches are struggling and some churches are finding it hard to pay the bills..... just something to think about

  • loulou Jun 8, 2009

    Exactly hereandnow99! Thank God for everything. All is in his control, even those who don't believe.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 8, 2009

    Thank gods for the church fires. (wink) I mean, if you believe in gods, who else is responsible? (big wink)

    So, cindy2345, do you think that the punishment for arson should be an eternity of torture? Eternity is a really, really, REALLY long time. If you were a god, is that the best that you could do? I mean, personally, I'd just zap their brain to be nice...or just create them peaceful in the first place.

  • loulou Jun 8, 2009

    Jesus forgives. I pray these people will eventually realize what they've done and repent.

  • CestLaVie Jun 8, 2009

    Boy - there must be something really going on at this church for someone to do this twice - a huge amount of revenge or retaliation?? Hope it gets solved soon!