Church Firebombed - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Fredericktown, MO

Church Firebombed

Church Firebombed
By: Wes Wallace

FREDERICKTOWN, MO --It's not the sound of hymns that echoes out of the Fredericktown First Baptist Church, instead it's a hum of equipment trying to clean out the historic building.

"We opened the door, and smoke came pouring out and we realized we had a major problem," says Pastor Tom Johnson, "We first thought it was fireworks, but then we discovered the broken bottles and knew right away it was something else."

It turns out someone threw two firebombs in through a window in the church's vestibule. The only visible damage is on the wall and tile floor near that window, but the real problem extends all over the church.

"The smoke and soot got into the air conditioning system and then it went all over the church," explains Johnson, "It'll cost about $100,000 to get it all back to normal." There's a lot of intricate woodwork in the church, which over a hundred years old, so it makes for a very expensive and extensive cleanup.

What possibly saved the church from suffering more damage..a curtain on the window acted as a glove and made the bombs fall right to the tile floor. Otherwise, they may have gone further into the building and sprayed fuel or caught something else on fire.

For now church members are meeting in their fellowship hall, until the clean up is finished. Fredericktown Police and the ATF are investigating. In the meantime, Pastor Johnson says he doesn't think it's an intentional attack, rather someone "with poor judgement".

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