HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A fire that destroyed a church in Hopewell has been ruled an arson and authorities have detained two juveniles believed to be involved.
Firefighters were called to Hopewell Church of Nazarene, located off Smithfield Avenue, at 10:43 p.m. Friday.
Hopewell Fire Chief Donny Hunter told 8News that crews arrived to find a large fire and smoke damage throughout most of the building.
An investigation from the Hopewell Police Department revealed that there was on “culpable party” and warrants were obtained.
“We’re obviously saddened by the loss,” Virginia District Church of the Nazarene District Superintendent Phil Fuller said. “There’s a lot of memories that are represented by this building and great things that have happened here.”
The church posted on their Facebook page Sunday:
“While we have learned that the fire was arson, we as a church hold no ill will toward anyone and offer forgiveness to those involved. We are grateful no one was injured and have open arms to families in our community. We believe the church is a body and we are working to develop a rebuilding plan because we are committed to the Hopewell community.”
“This is a setback, it is not a cessation,” Pastor David Wood said. “It’s not about the buildings and the bricks, and the books, it’s about the hearts that we’re able to touch. The hearts that have been already impacted by this church through the years, and those that will continue to be blessed as we move forward.”
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Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story.