A black church in North Carolina was set ablaze on Wednesday night in a possible hate crime.
The fire at the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was reported at around 1 a.m., and it took 75 firefighters an hour to subdue the fire. Two firefighters are now being treated for heat-related injuries, though it is believed that no one was in the church at the time of the fire.
“When I got here I was even amazed to see that the flames were so high,” Pastor Mannix Kinsey told WBTV.“I am thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, this church is going to be destroyed.’”
The fire did in fact destroy most of the building, with damages estimated at around $250,000. A weekday summer camp for children which had been hosted at the church has also been cancelled and will be relocated.
Although police do not yet have any suspects, they suspect that the arson was a hate crime. But Kinsey is already ready to forgive whoever did it.
“Honestly I can speak for this church that we’ve already forgiven them and we want to move forward,” Kinsey said. “And we are hoping this is an opportunity for Christ to show himself in their hearts.”
The arson comes exactly one week after the horrific shooting at a Charleston church that left nine dead after shooter Dylann Roof attacked churchgoers in an attempt to start a race war.