WEST SALEM, Ohio (WJW)– Firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the Lodi Community Church in Medina County on the Fourth of July.
They discovered a number of blazes were set in different sections of the church. Fortunately, they were able to quickly extinguish the fires. There was considerable damage to the church basement and a new wing that opened just six months ago, as well as smoke damage throughout the building.
Then, the pastor of the church checked surveillance cameras and discovered video of a woman walking around the church just before the fires were set.
“We really have no idea what the motivation was, why. We didn’t know the person that did this. It’s sad and so we are taking a step back, so we know God had a purpose for all of it,” Pastor Micah Dobson told FOX 8.
Investigators said the woman set the fires throughout the church complex by igniting paper towels, tissues and other paper products.
The Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office posted an arson sign in front of the church, offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
Then, the Medina County Sheriff’s Office posted a surveillance photo of the woman on its Facebook page. On Monday, a tipster identified her.
The sheriff’s office said the woman was arrested and is currently being held in the Medina County Jail. Charges against her are pending.
“I thank the Lord that nobody was hurt, I think that’s a very hard situation for people that have been through that. But it’s just a building, it can be replaced and we would just pray that she would get the help that she needs,” Dobson said.
The pastor and his congregation are now trying to decide where to hold services, until repairs can be made to the church.