HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are investigating a possible arson attack on a church in Hollywood.
The fire started at the front door of The Church of Jesus Christ, at 5880 W. Park Road, at around 1 a.m., Thursday.
“Very fortunate that it was a very short time because you see a lot of wood exposed,” Pastor Justin Severson said. “It could have burned. It could have been real bad.”
7News cameras captured Severson trying to repair some of the damage, which he said, he believes was intentional. Severson said he received a call from police notifying him of the fire. By the time he got to the church, he said, the fire was put out.
“I’ve learned never to judge somebody because you never know their upbringing, how they may have had a terrible upbringing, very difficult,” he said, “and so we don’t know the circumstances, but we know God is forgiving and able to amend any situation. That’s what I recommend — that one would find God and peace in their heart.”
According to the pastor, about a year ago, another person set a fire underneath a window.
A burn mark is also visible on the church’s roof. A broken beer bottle was found on the ground nearby, and a church member showed what appeared to be the top of a Molotov cocktail.
Last July, around 900 feet from the church, a fire starter was caught on camera igniting a blaze at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, which damaged the outside of the church. There is a $7,500 reward for information leading to that person’s arrest.
Church members are planning for repairs and moving on, hoping the person responsible hears their message. Severson said his church has about 50 members, and several of them have visited the scene to help with repairs.
The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the fire, but they have not ruled the fire as arson as of yet.
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