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Morning Fire at Area Church Ruled Arson

7/8/2002

BAYMEADOWS--A fire discovered this morning at the rear of a Baymeadows church building is determined to have been intentionally set.

At approximately 6:30 AM, Jacksonville firefighters responded to the Celebration Church of Jacksonville at 8535-58 Baymeadows Road after the manager of a nearby gym discovered a fire at the rear of the building. As firefighters arrived they discovered a small cargo trailer parked adjacent to the church fully involved in fire. Subsequent to the spread of fire from the trailer, the building that houses the church sustained minor damage. The cargo trailer and it's contents were a total loss. Damages are estimated at $25,000.00.

The Jacksonville Church Arson Task Force consisting of The Florida State Fire Marshal's office, The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, The Jacksonville Fire and Sheriff's Departments, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an intensive joint investigation into the cause of the fire. After careful processing, the fire was found to be intentionally set adjacent to the cargo trailer. The criminal investigation is ongoing.

Officials are offering up to a $2500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest of individuals responsible for this criminal act of arson. Anyone with information is asked to call the Florida Arson Hotline at 1-877-NOARSON or the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.