Pastor questioned after Harvey church fire investigated as arson

EMBED </>More Videos

An arson investigation is underway after fire destroyed a church in south suburban Harvey. (WLS)

An arson investigation is underway after fire destroyed a church in south suburban Harvey.

When firefighters arrived at Just Faith Full Gospel Church near 148th Street and Hoyne Avenue around 10:50 p.m. Sunday, heavy smoke and flames were billowing from the building.

Crews from surrounding communities were called to help control the fire. Once the fire was extinguished, officials determined the fire seemed suspicious.

Police said investigators found a Molotov cocktail inside the church. They talked with the church pastor Monday morning. A suspect has not been named.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries and is expected to be OK. No one else was hurt in the fire.

The Harvey Police Department, state fire marshal and ATF are investigating.

"I don't know who did it, but somebody did it," said Pastor Walter Veal.

Veal has led the church for more than a decade. The 81-year-old Air Force veteran and minister learned his church was gone as he recovered at home after being hospitalized following the death of his wife of three years just a few weeks ago.

"I'm stressed out. I've got a heart monitor," Veal said.

Veal's granddaughter blames an ongoing family dispute.

A spokesperson for the city of Harvey would not confirm that, but says every angle is being looked at.

Even though the church had no insurance, Pastor Veal is hoping to somehow rebuild.

"I'm going to try my best to redo it," he said.

Related Topics:
church firefirefighter injuredHarvey
(Copyright ©2017 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments