Church near Tacoma destroyed by suspected arsonist

TACOMA, Wash. -- A 30-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly setting fires to two buildings and a car near Tacoma early Thursday morning, including a church.

The first call to 911 came in around 12:25 a.m. reporting a fire in an abandoned building at 1719 91st Street East.

About 40 minutes later, a fire was reported at Golgotha Baptist Church in the 8400 of East Portland Avenue. Ten minutes later, a car fire was reported two blocks away.

As firefighters were arriving to fight the church file, they noticed a man walking away form the building, said Det. Jerry Bates with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. Deputies combed the streets and arrested him in the 9100 block of 10th Avenue East, where he apparently had broken into a home.

Deputies suspect he was trying to get away from the police. The man has been booked into the Pierce County Jail for investigation of arson and burglary. No one was hurt in any of the fires.

The pastor of the Golgotha church told KOMO News their congregation of about 300 people are mostly from Moldova in eastern Europe.

"I'm looking here like a dream like smoke," said Golgotha Baptist Church pastor Paval Sandu. "Yeah, we'll try to survive."