MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It took more than 50 volunteer firefighters from at least 4 fire departments to bring the blaze under control early Friday morning at the Warrior Hill Baptist Church in Pine Level located off Highway 231 South.
Firefighters got the call around midnight Thursday and it was a gut-wrenching moment for pastor Willis Walker.
"Sickness. How could it happen? Why did it happen?," said Walker.
A few hours later state fire investigators were still on the scene with their K-9 unit, sniffing out evidence to determine whether this was accidental or arson.
"It's been a long night," said State Fire Marshall Ed Paulk.
"This is a criminal fire and we're not going to release any details as to what was used or where the fire started," said Paulk.
Paulk says they have good leads but no potential suspects.
Although Paulk won't say what they found, he does say the evidence is compelling. Still unclear is whether this was the act of one person or more and why was the Warrior Hill Baptist Church targeted?
"We'll just go up and forward. We'll trust in the Lord and figure out what we'll do for Sunday," said Walker.
"If I could answer that question I would be well on my way to figure out who did it and what the reasons were," said Paulk.
The blaze destroyed the church's fellowship hall which housed computers, the kitchen and the pantry and administrative offices.
The sanctuary sustained just a little water and smoke damage. Parishioners could only stand by and watch.. down but not defeated.
Warrior Hill Baptist becomes the first church this year in the state to be set ablazed by an arsonist.
Now comes the search for the truth; who and why.