Police suspect Gardendale First Baptist fire set by arsonist

GARDENDALE, AL (WBRC) - State Fire Marshall Ed Paulk has confirmed there was a church fire at Gardendale 1st Baptist Church's new campus at 2:45 a.m.

The fire was set in the sanctuary of the new church campus on the north side.

Police say the damage was not major. In fact, the first officer to arrive on the scene was able to put the fire out with his fire extinguisher. The wall, a set of windows and the floor were damaged.

A 46-year-old Georgia man was arrested after officers spotted him walking down the road a little ways from the church. Officers questioned him and found him to be a suspect. Formal arson charges are expected for the man.

The fire damage should not cause trouble for the members of Gardendale First Baptist. The new campus was still under construction and is not schedule for use until June 6th.

The matter is expected to be addressed on the church's website and at the Sunday service.

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