Church arson causes more than $30K in damage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Church arson causes more than $30K in damage

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Surveillance video of the woman who is a person of interest in the arson. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Surveillance video of the woman who is a person of interest in the arson. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
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    Church fire determined to be arson

    Thursday, September 29 2016 6:35 AM EDT2016-09-29 10:35:12 GMT
    Picture of the damage to the church. (Source: WMC Action News 5)Picture of the damage to the church. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

    New Salem Fellowship Ministries caught fire before Wednesday night services. Pastor Antonio Maddox said he believed someone set the fire intentionally.

    More >>

    New Salem Fellowship Ministries caught fire before Wednesday night services. Pastor Antonio Maddox said he believed someone set the fire intentionally.

    More >>
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Surveillance video could help investigators figure out who set fire to a Mid-South church hours before Wednesday night services.

The pastor at New Salem Ministries said the arson caused more than $30,000 in damage. But thanks to 30 seconds of surveillance video, investigators could get a big break in the arson case. 

Mobile users: Click here to see the damage done to the church.

"We're glad it didn't burn the building down, so that gives us hope," Pastor Antonio Mattox of New Salem Fellowship Ministries said. 

Hope is rising out of the ashes for Pastor Antonio Mattox and New Salem Fellowship Ministries, one day after someone set the building on fire.
  
"I've been preaching faith, so how do we know if we have it if we're never challenged?" Mattox asked. 

Surveillance video is bringing new details to light in the arson case. It shows a woman wearing a hoodie, walking around the outside of the church.
Pastor Mattox tells us investigators think the fire started outside the church on some wood stairs.

There was a surveillance camera on the roof. Before it was destroyed in the fire, it captured video of a woman walking in the area an hour or so before the fire started.

Fire investigators are calling this woman a person of interest. 

"They're not saying that she's a prime suspect, but I truly believe--because of me being in this neighborhood--I know that nobody ever goes on these parts of the woods," Pastor Mattox said. 

The church has started a GoFundMe page, hoping citizens will help them rebuild. 

"Even though it doesn't look like it now, I just have a level of expectancy to see what God is going to bring out of this situation," Pastor Mattox said. 

New Salem Ministries is still holding worship this Sunday at 11 o'clock at 2231 South Parkway East in the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church.
Pastor Mattox has invited anyone who wants to join to come pray with them during this trying time. 

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