Police seek publics help in fire probe


First Posted: 7/27/2009

While members of Closer Walk Baptist Church seek a new meeting place, an investigation of a devastating fire at their church Sunday morning is continuing.
Weve got some people of interest that were looking into, Detective Tim Hodges of the Mount Airy Police Department said Monday afternoon. Thats about all weve got right now.
Several individuals of interest were interviewed shortly after the blaze was brought under control, but no arrests have been made.
Hodges added Monday that police had nothing right now regarding solid suspects in the case in which $175,000 in damages were caused after someone broke into the church on Roberts Road and set the fire in a restroom around 2:30 a.m.
To aid the investigation, police have issued a public appeal for information that might lead them to whoever started the blaze.
The Mount Airy Police Department is asking anyone who can help to contact Hodges at 786-3535 or the local Crime Stoppers program at 786-4000. Rewards are offered for Crime Stoppers tips that result in the arrest and conviction of persons involved in wrongdoing.
Mount Airy police have been assisted in the probe by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the State Bureau of Investigation.
Sundays incident marked the second major church fire occurring under suspicious circumstances in Surry County within the past two years.
Mitchell River Primitive Baptist Church, a 200-year-old structure in the remote Devotion community in western Surry County, was destroyed in an Oct. 13, 2007 blaze. No arrests have been made in connection with that incident at one of the countys oldest churches, founded in 1785.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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