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SLED, FBI investigating Georgetown County church arson

Published: Dec. 24, 2019 at 5:28 PM EST
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ANDREWS, S.C. (WMBF) – The state police and federal investigators have been called in to investigate suspicious fires at a Georgetown County church.

Church members from the Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ in the Andrews community said someone intentionally set the fire on Sunday morning. But the fire didn’t damage the congregation’s spirit as they worshipped through the heartache.

“The members were shocked when they found out what happened, so I spent the whole service trying to encourage everyone to lift spirits in and we just spent the service praying for the person or persons who did it and asking God to fill that void that’s missing in that person’s life that would make them do that to a sanctuary, a church,” Pastor Deshawn Rouse said.

Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ church in Georgetown County said someone set multiple...
Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ church in Georgetown County said someone set multiple fires throughout its building.((Source: Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ))

Rouse said he received a call around 4 a.m. Sunday that the building was on fire. He said when he arrived, firefighters had already put out the flames. He said the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division came to the church Tuesday morning to investigate.

Rouse said authorities believe a person or persons broke into the building around midnight and lit all of the table cloths on fire.

"Because of the plastic, it set off a chemical and so It's all in the walls and the ceilings so all that has to be gutted out and anything that's in there has to be taken out too,” Rouse said.

He said the windows on one of the church’s buses were also busted.

“It just makes you have a thousand questions why someone would do this to us,” Rouse said.

Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ church in the Andrews community wants to know who set fire...
Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ church in the Andrews community wants to know who set fire to their building.((Source: Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ))

He said the hall was used for all kinds of church gatherings and community events. It also served as a youth ministry. It’s a place that Deacon Jeremiah Jackson said made him who he is today.

“I’ve grown as a man, grown physically, spiritually and naturally,” Jackson said. “The reason why they did it, I don’t know but all I can do is pray for them.”

Rouse said authorities went through nearby neighborhoods to see if anyone had surveillance video of the crime. He’s also asking anyone with information to call the Andrews Police Department.

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