Police rule Dec. 7 fire at Kannapolis church as arson

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 3, 2014

KANNAPOLIS — Kannapolis Police say arson led to the Dec. 7 fire that significantly damaged the West A Street Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Detective Jeff Harrison confirmed Thursday evidence found at the scene showed the fire was intentionally set.
The Kannapolis Fire Department assisted police in their investigation.
Items — some of them already recovered — also were stolen from the church prior to the arson, Harrison said.
Kannapolis Police have issued a Crimestoppers Alert in hopes someone saw something that could lead to an arrest.
Police say the church building was entered and a fire was intentionally set about 7:39 a.m. Dec. 7, a Saturday.
The church is located at 1218 W. A St.
“The fire caused significant damage to the church and contents,” the Crimestoppers Alert says. “Anyone that was in this area, or passing by, between the hours of 5:30-7:30 a.m. and might have observed any suspicious persons or vehicles at or near the church are encouraged to call.”
The numbers to call are Harrison at 704-920-4001, or Crimestoppers at 1-866-639-5245.
Police also released a photograph of how the church appeared before the fire.
The fire was called in the morning of Dec. 7 by a church member who was delivering flowers. She reported smoke billowing from the roof.
Roughly 50 firefighters responded to the fire. Members were supposed to have a Hanging of the Greens ceremony that same night.
The fire appeared to have started in the baptistry, the Rev. Nicholas Jackson said the day of the fire.
The church building dates to 1963 and is across the street from the Big Elm Nursing Center. The fellowship hall was not touched by the fire.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.