LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4)– Longmont police are searching for a man suspected of starting a fire inside Central Longmont Presbyterian Church early Sunday morning. Officers were called to the church on Kimbark Street around 5:40 a.m.
Detectives said a man was caught on surveillance breaking a window in a door leading into the church and starting a fire using an accelerant. Investigators said the fire caused more than $5,000 in damage.
A pastor from the church tells CBS4 that much of the damage is due to water from the sprinkler system.
Officers credit the church’s sprinklers and Longmont firefighters for their quick response to save the building from more damage.
On Sunday, the Northern Colorado Caldeonia Pipe Band, which regularly practices at the church, moved outside to rehearse for an upcoming performance.
“We like to play outside and the weather is beautiful today, so some of us are doing lessons outside and I would imagine the whole band will practice outside,” said Carol Duarte.
The band is one of several programs that uses space within the church, including the Recovery Café. Earlier this month, CBS4 showcased the service that offers a cup of coffee and addiction counseling to people in need.
When reached by phone Sunday, the program manager said the café will stay open. A pastor at the church tells CBS4 regular services will continue next Sunday.
“I’m sure there will be lots of people anxious to see that this church is not too negatively impacted by somebody’s poor decision,” Duarte said.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call the Longmont Police Department at 303-651-8501.
The church was not occupied at the time of the fire. The fire department wants to remind homeowners and businesses to install fire alarms, smoke detectors and sprinklers and to check them regularly to make sure they are functioning properly.