Fire at Charlotte church was intentionally set, investigators sa - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Fire at Charlotte church was intentionally set, investigators say

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Investigators in Charlotte say they're looking for the arsonist who set a church on fire early Tuesday morning.

The call came in from the Temple of Refuge Church of the Living God on North Caldwell Street near East 15th Street around 3 a.m. when two men driving in the area reported smelling smoke.

"I just want to scream. I just want to scream," said Apostle N.J. Dunlap of Temple of Refuge Church of the Living God. "I don't know where I'm going to take the flock."

Church leaders said they've been worshipping in the building for almost a year.

Apostle Dunlap said, "We were a growing congregation, working in the community, food bank, clothing bank - now we need help."

Officials at the scene told WBTV that the damage was mostly from smoke, and ruined pews and hymnals. The damage is estimated between $25,000 and $50,000.

The Congregation was forced to cancel Bible Study Tuesday evening, and Church officials said they didn't know where they'll have Service the rest of the week.

"I've got young people. My kids just started school this week. They need this. This was our refuge. This was our refuge" Apostle Dunlap said.

"I mean the actual devastation"" said Miriam Washburn, one of the Church leaders. "This is where we worship. This is where we praise God."

Washburn said she was speechless when she was heard there was a fire - and that it was intentionally set.

"Really. That was my first word. Really. Who does that?"

Anyone with information about the incident should call law enforcement.

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