MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A church building behind Elliston Baptist Church in East Memphis was caught on fire Friday evening.
Memphis Fire Department said the fire happened around 4 p.m. and was caused by possible arson.
The building that burned don had recently been sold to the Buenas Nuevas Church.
“Our plan was to tear it down anyways,” Seyri Verdugo said. “So it did kind of help, but it wasn’t the way we wanted.”
The structure was once a cafeteria for students who attended Elliston Baptist Academy. Pastor John Bomar said the fire was so hot that it melted some of the back windows of his church and knocked out power to the sanctuary.
“It was an old building,” he said. “Wooden structure and so it was very flammable.”
MFD also developed a person of interest identified as “Johnny.”
Church members said they are not sure why someone would want to burn down their building, but they have already forgiven them.
“We don’t hate nobody, so may God bless that person,” Verdugo said. “And if he did it for a reason, well I hope he changes his mentality and he don’t do or commit another crime.”
Call CrimeStoppers at (901)-528-CASH or the State Arson Hotline at 1-(800)-762-3017 with any information about this incident.