Church building fire caused by possible arson: MFD

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A church building behind Elliston Baptist Church in East Memphis was set on fire Friday night.

The Memphis Fire Department said the fire occurred around 4 p.m. and was caused by possible arson.

The don building that burned down had recently been sold to the Buenas Nuevas Church.

“Our plan was to tear it down anyway,” said Seyri Verdugo. “So that helped, but it wasn’t how we wanted it to be.”

The structure was once a cafeteria for students who attended Elliston Baptist Academy. Pastor John Bomar said the fire was so hot it melted some of his church’s rear windows and knocked out electricity to the sanctuary.

“It was an old building,” he said. “Wooden structure and therefore highly flammable.”

MFD has also developed a person of interest identified as “Johnny”.

Church members said they don’t know why anyone would want to burn down their building, but they have already forgiven them.

“We don’t hate anyone, so God bless that person,” Verdugo said. “And if he did it for a reason, well I hope he changes his mind and he doesn’t commit or commit another crime.”

Call CrimeStoppers at (901)-528-CASH or the State Arson Hotline at 1-(800)-762-3017 for information on this incident.

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