Arson suspected at Fayetteville church

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- State officials are investigating a church fire that happened in Fayetteville Wednesday morning.

It happened around 5 a.m. at CD McNeill Memorial Church in the 1700 block of Sapona Road off Cedar Creek Road. When emergency crews arrived, they saw flames and smoke on the outside of the back of the church, but the church's pastor said more than one attempt was made to damage the church.

"They threw a brick through the window and then they threw something that was lit in the window," said Thomas Leak. "And it didn't catch like they thought it would."

That's when Leak said the person behind the fire moved on to the back of the building where the kitchen is located. That area sustained the most damage, and the roof fell out when firefighters extinguished the flames.

Both the side window and back kitchen are connected to the church's sanctuary. There is considerable smoke damage there in addition to the destroyed kitchen.

Leak said he has another church in town and may direct CD McNeill's 30 or so members there until the Sapona Road church has been cleared.

The pastor said while a home next door to the church was set on fire last month, he doesn't believe the fires are connected. The church has not received any recent threats. He just shook his head when asked who may want to damage the church.

"Dear, it would be hard for me to say, because I really don't understand," said Leak." But I do know that we're living in the last and evil days and people frustrated, upset and they just do things because they're not keeping themselves busy."

No cause has been reported, but Fayetteville police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco are involved in the investigation.

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