Man called police to admit to church arson was 'in the mood for midnight fire'

Man called police to admit to church arson was 'in the mood for midnight fire'

POSTED: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 6:15pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 6:19pm

A man charged in a church fire in Independence was "in the mood for a midnight fire," court documents said.

Independence police and fire crews were called about 1:45 a.m. to the Outreach Restoration Branch Church, 723 S. Crysler Ave.

According to police spokesman Tom Gentry, 22-year-old Joseph W. Gazafy called authorities and told them he started the fire at Outreach Restoration Church 723 S. Crysler
Fire was showing from the roof when authorities arrived. As the sun rose, extensive damage could be seen on the exterior of the back of the church.

A short time later, Gentry said, a man called police and said he had started the fire. Officers responded and arrested the man.

Gazafy is charged with second-degree arson. He told authorties he broke out a window in the church and used gasoline to start the fire. He had glass in his shoe when police arrested him, according to court documents.

He told emergency responders he was "in the mood for a midnight fire."

Parishioner Cherie Pederson says she's been with the church for 15 years and has never seen anything like this happen. She told 41 Action News the church just paid off the building about a month ago.

Pederson says churchgoers will likely go to their sister church, Living Hope, for Sunday services while repairs are made.

Prosecutors have requested a $30,000 cash bond for Gazafy.


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