SBI investigates church fire
Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Pastor reacts to sudden loss
By CHRISTINA HALE
BELHAVEN — After a weekend of celebrating their minister’s six-year anniversary, members of the Mount Olive Pentecostal Faith Church in Belhaven returned to find the inside of their church destroyed.
The building, which sits on a corner lot at the intersection of Elm and Old County Road in Belhaven, caught fire around 8 p.m. Sunday.
Belhaven Fire Chief Paul Wood said the fire “seemed kind of suspicious and was handed over to the State Bureau of Investigation.”
Although little fire damage can be seen from the outside of the church, the inside is totaled, Wood said. A call about the fire came in at 8:27 p.m.
The fire was extinguished within minutes. “It’s a tight building and it … smothered it … out,” he said.
Wood would not comment further on why he thought the fire was suspicious, until the SBI completed its investigation.
Pastor Amos Wilson has been a member of Mount Olive Pentecostal for 32 years and has been the senior pastor there for six years.
Many longtime members were at the church Monday to assess the interior damage.
Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal said, “It’s a tragedy to Belhaven. It’s an old church that served many people.”
Wilson said, “The church was there before I was born and I’m 55 years old. That’s a long time. It’s like losing a limb. When will we be able to get back into circulation, I just don’t know.”