Bus fire at Convent Baptist Church in Leesville considered arson
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) –According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department a bus fire at Convent Baptist Church in Leesville is being treated as arson.
The incident report submitted by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department states that around 3:30 Thursday morning, a neighbor’s dog woke its owner up, prompting the neighbor to see the nearby fire and call 911.
Members of the Lexington County Fire Department arrived soon after to put out the flames.
The report states that the church’s surveillance camera shows a suspect running away from the burning bus. But as of now no arrests have been made.
Church members say the bus was used to transport youth and senior citizens on church trips.
According to Captain Adam Myrick with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the fire not only ruined the 2019 Ford Econoline bus, but damaged part of the church as well.
“One of the things that we do know is that the bus was valued at about $77,000. It appears to be basically, it’s burned down to the frame. There’s nothing left of that bus. Also the heat from the fire was so intense, it did some damage to the church building as well. Right around $15,000 is the estimate the church leaders tell us was done in terms of damage to the church building itself,” Captain Myrick says.
He says the sheriff’s department is asking for the community’s help as they continue their investigation into potential suspects and motives.
“We’ve got a team of detectives on this and the church continues to help us in every way they can, but whether or not it’s one or whether or not it’s two, the most important thing is for us to go where this evidence takes us and also to be ready to receive those tips because the community there is going to know what an early morning is going to look like and feel like in that pocket of the community and they’re gonna be able to share with us if they saw anything,” says Captain Myrick.
He asks that if you have any information on the fire, contact the Sheriff’s Department at (803)-785-8230 or you can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
A church member says about 125 people attend Convent Baptist Church each Sunday.