Officials Investigate Century Church Fire As Possible Arson

CW55's Katrice Nolan walks with an eyewitness to an early morning fire that burnt down a historic church in Century, FL. 10/10/2016

There is nothing left of the Wesley Chapel CME Church after fire destroyed the building.

Elvin Mitchell, is surveying the damage he lives next door and recalls what he heard before he saw any flames.

“It sounded like a loud boom,” Mitchell said.

After hearing that loud boom rushing out of bed at around 5:30 Sunday morning. What he saw next devastated him.

“I looked out the kitchen window, and the church was in big flames, flames coming all out the roof,” Mitchell said.

Built in 1902, the church was already closed after suffering structural damage from a tornado that hit back in February. It seems as if neither the neighborhood nor Mitchell can catch a break.

“The tornado destroyed that house,” he said. “We just moved back into this house in May, and now we have this fire.”

Mitchell tells me the flames were moving so fast and were so hot, it melted off the siding of his home.

“The fire was already on the grass — It was burning across, and it was coming toward our house,” Mitchell said.

A corrections officer helped Mitchell and his disabled mother get out of their home, but Mitchell is concerned about how the fire started.

“From the moment I saw it, it was burning too big and too fast,” he said. “I thought from that moment someone must have set the church on fire.”

Nothing remains of the church, just this sign asking for anyone with information to come forward.

But gathering information on what happened won’t change the history of the church.

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