Three vans and a cargo trailer belonging to Solid Rock Baptist Church on Brown Bridge Road were torched early Thursday morning and Covington Fire officials are investigating the blaze, while church members try to understand who would do such a thing.
“I believe someone set the fire deliberately and fled,” said Jason Williams, a church minister. “It is just a random act of terrorism.”
The church, which has been on Brown Bridge Road since 1989, has about 400 members, many of whom stopped by to look at the vans and wonder aloud, just who would do something like that.
Two of the vans were used as transportation for various church functions, the cargo trailer was used to transport items to the church thrift store and the third van was used by the Willing Helper Food Ministries to pick up donations.
The food ministry, which serves 150-200 people a week, will suffer the most immediate hit, because they will have to to try and fit the donations into personal vehicles.
Nothing was stolen from the vehicles before they were set on fire, and one of them had lawn equipment inside of it, clearly visible through the windows.
The call came in to the fire department about 1 a.m. from a man affiliated with the church who lives on the property. He reportedly woke up after hearing a loud noise then saw the vehicles fully engulfed.
“This is going to hurt us,” said Williams. “Insurance will cover what it can but we don’t currently have funding for more vans…”
Solid Rock also provides a shelter for homeless men, a thrift store, a health clinic and a sports program.
“This is a church,” said Williams, shaking his head. “Why would you destroy God’s church? Especially one that does everything it can to help this community…”
According to Capt. Rob Christopher of the Covington Fire Department, the fire is considered “suspicious” until a final ruling by arson investigators.
He urged anyone who might have seen a vehicle speeding away or any suspicious activity in the area of Solid Rock or Brown Bridge Road to contact the fire department at (770) 385-2100 or call the Arson Tip Line anonymously at (770) 254-2350.
Williams said the church wants to get the food ministry van replaced so that they can continue to help as many needy people as possible. The church is open to donations and can be reached at (770) 784-0982.