OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are searching for an individual who, they said, was captured on surveillance video setting fire to a church in Oakland Park, nearly burning himself in the process.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit, the subject lit up the front doors of the Power Outreach Ministries in Oakland Park, just before 1:30 a.m., Aug. 14.

“The whole place was blazing,” said the church’s pastor, Warren Gayle.

Gayle, who spoke with 7News on Thursday about the overnight arson incident, said he received the call alerting him that the house of worship had been set ablaze.

“That’s the devil’s plan, and if someone comes and burns God’s house down, what wouldn’t he do?” he said. “I don’t know why would someone come all the way to burn this building down for no reason. I don’t have enemies.”

Broward County Regional Communications received an alert about a fire at the house of worship, located at 2600 NW 21st Ave.

BSO deputies and Oakland Park Fire Rescue responded to the scene and contained the blaze. Further investigation by firefighters uncovered signs suggesting the fire was intentionally set, as confirmed by the Oakland Park City Fire Marshal.

The surveillance footage shows an unidentified person entering the property’s parking area with a gas can. The suspect is then seen pouring liquid on the front doors before igniting a paper towel and using it to set the entrance ablaze.

“You can see on the video that he pours some sort of a liquid at the front doors of this church and then light it on fire,” said BSO spokesperson Carey Codd.

The footage shows the man running away from the flames when they suddenly sparked right next to him.

“I do think he’s an idiot,” said Gayle.

The fire caused more than $1,000 in damage.

The subject fled west on Northwest 26th Street.

For Gayle, this church is more than just a place of worship. Several members of the congregation live in the building and were upstairs sleeping when the arsonist struck and could have been hurt if firefighters hasn’t been able to to put out the flames as quickly as they did.

“I have people in their 70s down, they have their children,” said Gayle. “I have two of their babies there. They are 4 years old, 5, you know.”

Thursday night, 7News cameras captured traces of smoke on the doorway of the church.

Gayle said this has been a difficult month for him.

“I buried my mother this Saturday, on the 12th, and Sunday night somebody comes to burn my livelihood down?” he said.

Now he just want the person who did this to be held responsible.

“I hope he don’t come again. I hope he don’t come again,” he said.

BSO detectives are still working to identify the subject.

Officials urge anyone with information about his identity or whereabouts to contact BSO Detective Robert O’Dor at 954-321-4849 or provide tips via the SaferWatch app. For anonymous reporting, reach out to Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at browardcrimestoppers.org.

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