Grand Rapids church doors catch fire, officials investigate as arson

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids police are investigating a suspected arson that broke out at a West Michigan church over the weekend. While the damage was only to the front doors, it's leaving many people with unanswered questions.

Servant's Community Church pastor Mark Veldt said he received the news Sunday morning around 7:45 a.m. and reported it to Grand Rapids police and fire officials. Veldt said they're saddened and stunned someone would set their church doors on fire, but grateful the damage wasn't worse.

“We are thankful to God our building didn’t get burned down," said Veldt. "That we were able to have worship, and continue to do what we’ve been doing.”

Thankfully, the damage wasn't worse and church members were able to get a fan going that removed some of the smoke smell and service was still held Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.

“We have no idea who did it or why they may have done it," said Veldt. "It has to be someone who has some hurts to strike out in this way.”

Veldt said they do know the gap of time the fire had to have happened.

“There was a group that met here. We have a group that is a support group for people with substance abuse that meets on Saturday night, and that happened Saturday night, everything was ok then," said Veldt. "So sometime between 8:30 Saturday night and 7:30 Sunday morning, something happening.”

Grand Rapids Fire Department Lt. William said because the fire happened at a church, both the Grand Rapids Police Dept. and ATF are also involved in the investigation, which they're calling clearly intentional.

“Our investigator is actively pursuing evidence. The evidence has been collected," said Smith. "It was the doors that were involved, and there's really no reason for a fire to have broken out on the doors. We are pursing this as an intentional act and it is an open investigation.”

Veldt said the plan is to put in temporary doors while they work to hopefully fix the doors that were damaged.

“I would love to sit down with the person and find out who they are, why they did what they did," said Veldt. "There has to be a lot of hurt inside to feel like that’s the next step they have to do.”

People with any information or saw anything around the church that appeared to be suspicious, contact the GRPD Detective Unit at 616-456-3400.

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