SWAR church members offering reward for information on fire

Published: Jun. 2, 2017 at 6:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2017 at 6:58 PM CDT
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(Source: Fred Gamble/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Fred Gamble/KSLA News 12)

MILLER CO, AR (KSLA) - A community is searching for answers after a century-old church was nearly burned down earlier this year.

Fire scene tape remains around Cedar Grove Church in Miller County and according to Fire Marshal Garry Sumner — all evidence points to arson.

"There are no new leads at this time, the fire is still and active investigation," said Miller County Fire Marshal, Garry Sumner.

Investigators say the fire started on a table and spread causing extensive damage to the building. Authorities were first alerted after a passerby noticed smoke and flames coming from the historic church.

"(The case) is pretty difficult because it is in a very remote location and with no witnesses at this time." Sumner said. "It's going to be very hard to solve this case."

According to Church Member Gail Hacker, the building was only used for special occasions and had a history of vandalism.

"We've had kids come in vandalizing," Hacker said. "They've stolen the podium out. They've done things inside the church that you don't want to talk about on camera."

Cedar Grove Church members say the church has been at this location since 1883. As of now, doing what they can to solve the crime.

"We are still waiting on some tips that may lead to an arrest," said Cedar Grove Church Association President Stacy Laxton.

Laxton says they're offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

"The ones who started it, God is going to deal with them," Laxton said. "If anybody got any information we hope they will come forward and give us what we need to get who done it."

Laxton said the reward amount has not been determined. A GoFundMe has been established for renovation efforts.

Anyone with any information is urged to call the Miller County Sheriff's Office at (870) 774-3001.

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