A Local Church Fire Is Now A Result Of Arson

Police and fire officials taped off the front steps of a local church after a member found one of its rooms on fire and filled with smoke.

The member rushed to get the pastor, Father Cliff, who then called the fire department.

Fire officials responded to St. Mary's Catholic Church off of South Lee Street in Americus this morning at around 8:00.

Now-- the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioners office say it was arson.

And the arsonist must be caught.

"We do need your help. Anybody that would set fire to the house of worship is considered an extreme threat to the community," said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, John Oxendine.

In addition to the arson, there were three churches burglarized in Americus last night.

At this point, officials only suspect those burglaries may be linked to the fire.

Today, the pastor of the church is thanking God that things aren't worse.

"Today we actually offered, in our language, what we call a mass of thanksgiving because we were protected from so very much potential loss," said Father Clif Marquis.

The Commissioner's office is asking anyone with information about this fire to please call the Georgia Arson hotline at 1-800-282-5804.