DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Master's Domain Church Pastor Derrick Harris says as soon as he showed up, it was obvious it was no accident.
"There was a lot of lighter fluid and there was that same lighter fluid that was seen in another place and there was lighter fluid placed all over the floor, all over the tables and to the grace of God he tried to light it on the carpet," he said.
The property manager just happened to be checking the place Wednesday night when he saw the flames and jumped into action.
"He actually immediately got a bucket of water and put it out.When he put it out we found that lighter fluid was placed all over the building," Pastor Harris said.
The Daytona Beach Police Department was not notified of the incident at around 7:30 Thursday morning by the pastor. Church workers had already begun to clean up the damage from the fire before police officers and firefighters arrived on scene.
When police arrived, they requested Daytona Beach Firefighters to come to the scene. There was no active fire when Daytona Beach Firefighters arrived. Firefighters assessed the incident and determined a need to notify The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation.
This church is currently owned by a bank and is no longer used for Church Services; however, functions such as church dinner still take place inside the building occasionally. The Bureau determined that there were individuals living inside the church off and on but it is unknown if anyone was currently living at the church.
The fire caused an estimated $5,000 in damage to an interior hallway. The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is investigating the incident as arson. ATF was also called to assist in the investigation.
According to the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations it is protocol to include ATF in arson investigations that occur at a church because fires that occur at a church could be considered a federal hate crime. There is no suspect/person of interest currently in custody.
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is asking anyone who has information regarding this incident to call the Arson Tip Hotline at 1-877-NoArson (1-877-662-7766).