West Virginia 12-year-old girl charged with arson after church fire

By  | 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's the part of St. John's Episcopal Church in Huntington, West Virginia considered most sacred.

"It is the single most important spot," church member Jerry Coleman said.

"The heart of the church for us is this table," the Rev. Lisa Graves said.

Their altar was charred black after being set on fire Monday night.

"That's why if you go up and see the altar now in its current state, it's heartbreaking," Coleman said.

Tuesday evening, the damaged altar was still in its normal place as the congregation held a special service offering thanks the fire department put the flames out before they could spread, and praying for the person responsible.

Huntington police charged a 12-year-old girl Tuesday afternoon with arson.

Graves says it's hard to grasp why a pre-teen girl would do this.

"The kind of anger and pain that would lead a child to this sort of thing is an overwhelming thought," she said.

"We've been praying for the person that did this, particularly when we found out this is a 12-year-old girl who obviously has issues, is very disturbed, and needs our prayers and support, as does her family."

Graves says the girl isn't someone she knows, and she doesn't have a connection to the church.