Recently-vandalized church catches fire in Dora - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Recently-vandalized church catches fire in Dora

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This is what the church looks like on Friday morning. (Source: WBRC video) This is what the church looks like on Friday morning. (Source: WBRC video)
The Free Gospel Deliverance Center of the Apostolic Faith before the fire. (Source: WBRC video) The Free Gospel Deliverance Center of the Apostolic Faith before the fire. (Source: WBRC video)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A church that has been plagued by burglaries and vandalism in Walker County was consumed by fire on Friday morning.

The Dora Fire Chief, Chris Edwards, says rescue crews received the call around 6 a.m. By the time firefighters arrived, the church was fully involved and the roof had collapsed. Edwards says the age of the church and amount of flammable items inside helped fuel the blaze.

"It was an old church. An old building. A lot of old materials inside of it. It was a lot of fuel to burn," Edwards said.

Church pastor Donald Hudson, who became the pastor of the church in Decemeber, said the church had been burglarized and vandalized three times during the past month.

The windows were ripped out of the church on April 22. A week before that, the back door was broken in and the previous week saw a burglary where a drum set, microphones and speakers were taken.

"It makes me feel real bad, real bad. I'm still planning to have church even if I have to have it outdoors. I plan to have church," Hudson said after the fire.

Dora police say an ongoing property dispute may be the reason for the burglary and vandalism. Police say officers were called to the church on Thursday as someone tried to evict Hudson from the building.

Police have not said if they think the fire may be related to the conflict. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The State Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause.

Church members plan to meet in the yard of the church on Friday night at 7 p.m. to hold a service.

"I plan to do whatever it takes to get the church back in operation. I want the neighborhood to know we are not going anywhere. We are going to stand firm and let God fight our battle," Hudson said.

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