NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A reward is being offered for information related to a Nashville church fire that was believed to be intentionally set.
Just before 10 p.m. on Sept. 13, officials said someone threw a Molotov cocktail through the front window of Axis Church, causing a fire. Surveillance video captured the incident at the Germantown church. Firefighters found a small fire and extinguished it shortly after they arrived on the scene, but the damage had already been done.
Now multiple agencies, including The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and Metro Nashville Arson and Explosives Task Force are continuing to investigate. They announced a $1,000 reward for information that may be helpful in the case.
In the month and a half since the incident, the church has gone through several obstacles.
“It’s reminded us of our mission and our purpose and reminds us of the heaviness of life. That’s the message we have been preaching and singing,” said Lead Pastor Jeremy Rose.
The total cost of damage is still unknown, but Rose won’t be surprised if it exceeds $1 million.
The front lobby sustained the most damage. Carpeting throughout the entire facility had to be ripped up. The front is down to the studs waiting on new insulation, flooring and drywall. At least 75 tenants who use the space during the week are temporarily displaced. Regardless of the challenges, Rose just wants to meet the person or persons responsible and give them a hug.
“It we felt like it was persecution for the church, it would be somewhat disturbing. I feel like this was a total random attack,” Rose said. “It could have been a dentist office or hair salon, but it was us. Whoever it is, I would just love to hug and welcome in and get to know because we all feel the weight and burden of life. Don’t come through the window, come through the door.”
Fellow churches have donated resources or financially sponsored Sunday services, which can cost up to $3,000 per week.