Investigators have determined the fire at a Galilee Holiness Church metal barn and camper was purposefully set.
“The fire marshal’s office has ruled it an arson,” said Madison County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jimmy Patton. “No suspects at this time. We have had some hay rolls in the area that have been set on fire also.”
No one was injured in the incident.
Firefighters responded at 9:05 p.m., July 29 to a blaze at Galilee Holiness Church at 989 Jot Em Down Road. An open-air metal butler building by the church was fully engulfed in flames. The building housed equipment including carpet, lumber, appliances, and a camper and was owned by Galilee Holiness Church.
According to an incident report from Madison County Cpl. Christian Sisk, a church member reported that he observed a wood pallet under the church camper that was on fire and tried unsuccessfully to put it out. The church preacher, Larry Dyer, told Sisk that he didn’t remember a pallet being under the camper or building at any time.
“I observed spinning tire tracks in front of the building,” wrote Sisk. “The tracks appeared to have been an old track, but I could not confirm due to the amount of water the fire department had put on the ground. The state fire marshal was contacted and will be conducting further investigation.”
Poca, Danielsville, Hull and Shiloh volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze. County 911 director Brenan Baird said fire departments went to the church three times to put out hot spots that flared up and also had to respond to grass fires four times, because of hay bales that continued to smolder.
“The fire resulted in a heavy amount of damage and totaled the building,” said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “Investigators also discovered four additional outside arsons in the area that appeared to have been set within a one-hour window. If you have any information on the individual or individuals responsible for this vehicle fire, I ask that you call my Fire Investigations Unit at 1- 800-282-5804.”
Rewards are offered of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist(s). Calls are taken 24 hours a day and callers can choose to remain anonymous. Commissioner King’s Fire Investigations Unit is assisting the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Poca Volunteer Fire Department with this investigation.