Fire at Reach Church in Bear, Delaware investigated as arson

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Thursday, July 23, 2020
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A fire at Reach Church in Bear, Delaware is being investigated as an act of arson.

BEAR, Delaware (WPVI) -- A fire at Reach Church in Bear, Delaware is being investigated as an act of arson.

A team of firefighters worked quickly Monday night to salvage what they could at one of the largest churches in town.

The structure itself is intact, but inside the pastor says someone intentionally caused a lot of destruction.

Police release photos of person of interest in church arson

Pastor Chuck Betters says, sadly, this was an attack.

"There were several pews in the sanctuary, various pews, random ones that were set on fire. Window sills were set on fire, there was equipment that was turned over. There was a lot of vandalism," Betters said.

By this morning you could see where firefighters cut holes in the steeple to contain the blaze.

The fire comes just weeks before the church was set to reopen its doors after closing for the pandemic, but it won't keep this congregation from worship.

"Our mission here is three words: nothing but Jesus. So, we're trying to see all things through that lens," the pastor said.

"We have a school that we own, Red Lion Christian Academy, so we have some options there. We have some options here for outdoor worship," he added.

And while it's disheartening to think who could have gone to such an extent to destroy God's house...

"We're moving forward with boldness, we're moving forward with forgiveness, because the person who did this - I can only imagine the pain that person has in their life," Betters said.

Firefighters say it will take a couple of days to complete their investigation. Meanwhile, around the same time at nearby Faith Lutheran, a window was broken causing the fire alarm to go off, but there was no fire. Officials haven't determined if the two are connected.