Update: $10,000 Reward Offered in Search for Felton-Area Church - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Update: $10,000 Reward Offered in Search for Felton-Area Church Arsons

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FELTON, Del. (WBOC) - The Office of the State Fire Marshal is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment of those involved in three fires set at chirches in the Felton-area Tuesday morning.

The three church fires happened early Tuesday morning in the area around Felton and Frederica. The Office of the State Fire Marshal ruled them all arson and believe all to be connected

The first fire was at Healing Hands Christian Church, which suffered the most damage. The second was four miles away at Manship Chapel. The third was at Laws Mennonite Church.

The combined damage for the three is an estimated $86,000.

The churches are fairly close to one another. And there are a lot of other nearby churches.

Rick Hensley is the pastor at Grace and Truth Community Church near Felton. He says a church deacon organized a meeting Tuesday to talk about all these church fires so close to their church.

"We are within the triangle. So, we need to make sure security measures are in place," Hensley said.

He says they spoke with the fire marshal's office and got some suggestions on what to do. The church does already have a fire and security system.

Pilgrim Chapel near Harrington does, too. Charles Johnson is the pastor there.

"We have a fire alarm system that when something goes wrong within a couple of minutes the fire company is there. We also have the building surrounded by lights," said Johnson.

Neither church, unlike the three arsoned churches, is in what would be considered a secluded area. In fact, Hensley's church is right along US 13.

"Maybe there's some protection. But we don't want to take anything for granted and assume that we're fine because we're along the highway," Hensley said. "When someone is specifically targeting churches - the first thing you see when you drive by our church is a cross."

With at least one arsonist, maybe more, still on the loose, Hensley says it is important to be vigilant.

"You know what? We need to recognize this is something that we all need to be prepared for," Hensley said.

Officials have not announced a suspect yet. And there has been no word on why the three churches were set ablaze - if they were randomly chosen or specifically targeted.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal says there a reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the arsons. Anyone with information on these arsons is asked to call Crime Stoppers or 1-888-ATF-FIRE. The caller's identity will remain confidential.


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