Sanctuary pastor speaks out about 4th suspicious fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Pastor on church fire: They think it's some sort of sexual addiction


Another fire at a southside Savannah church is making the congregation extra nervous.

The pastor says it was set on purpose and fire officials know the culprit.

The fire at the Sanctuary on Whitfield Ave., the fourth fire in the last year at the southside church, is not the only suspicious fire being investigated. A few days ago, an abandoned house on Old Montgomery Road burned.

In February, a fire was set at Campbell's Cleaners on Waters Ave. and the contents of dumpsters were burned at Gateway Behavioral Health Services and Tabby Villa Apartments.

WTOC spoke with Pastor Larry McDaniel at the Sanctuary. He says fire investigators told him the suspect has to be caught in the act. The fire at the Sanctuary was started in a warehouse in the back of the property, where no security cameras are present.

McDaniel says the fires are getting too frequent and too close and thinks investigators are dealing with a pyromaniac.

"They think it is some sort of sexual disorder or addiction. It is bizarre and doesn't make a lot of sense to me," McDaniel said. "Evidentially, until they can see him, maybe a video of him doing it, they can't go and say 'we know you did it'."

The storage building housed in the very back end of the Sanctuary parking lot housed TVs, paint and tools. Along with a $100,000 excavator which was set on fire earlier this year, McDaniel says the damages caused, along with Friday's fire, add up to more than $250,000.

McDaniel says the church may add more lights on the property where surveillance video is not present, but he wishes fire investigators would confront the unnamed suspect.

"Absolutely, I wish they would. I hope they would but they said no. If you do that, and put this person with this type of addiction on the sport, he may go do something bigger, go out in a blaze of glory, and set fire to a school or a nursing home or a church," McDaniel said. 

With so many insurance claims filed, McDaniel says the church is also worried they may lose their coverage.

Authorities say if anyone notices suspicious activity, a person on the property who does not belong, it needs to be reported immediately.

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