Local church set on fire

Local church set on fire

A church in Odessa went up in flames Saturday morning and investigators say it was no accident. Now, the search is on for whoever started it.

The congregation's spirits were still high on Sunday. The River of Life Church isn't letting the fire stop them from holding service. On Sunday afternoon, they gathered outside of the burned church for Sunday worship.

"We found out that the church had been broken into and it was arson! Somebody started this fire! I hope we have every devil in this town mad!" Pastor Gayle Walters of the River of Life Church in Odessa, said.

"We had this service today (Sunday) for one reason, to tell everybody in the neighborhood, this isn't stopping anything. We're not giving up," said Walters.

Authorities say the church was set on fire Sunday morning just after 3 a.m.

"They called the man across the street, Rick called, and said 'Gayle the church is on fire!' So I said 'what?' And I got up and run," said Walters.

When the pastor arrived, she couldn't believe what see saw.

"When I first looked in there, I thought oh good the sanctuary didn't get it bad. But whenever I go in there later, when they said that we could go in, I went down and went 'oh God. It's bad. Who would want to burn a church,'" said Walters.

From the outside, you wouldn't think there is much damage.

"If you just drive by, it looks like nothing has happened, but when you open the doors and go in," said Walters.

Charred remains, burnt property and the walls covered in soot. It's a mystery who called emergency officials about the fire. Now, the search in on for whoever started the blaze.

"We don't know who called this fire in. Nobody admitted to it. The neighbors, nobody, seems to know who called the fire in but the police are looking for the number that called in this fire," said Walters.

The pastor says they plan on rebuilding as soon as possible.

"They said we can clean it up and do things and we're going to do things," said Walters.

If you would like to help out the River of Life Church, call (432) 889-8282.

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