Feds investigate after historically black church is set on fire


by Maggie Ruper


Posted on October 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 25 at 11:30 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The FBI is working with Corydon Police and the State Fire Marshal after someone intentionally set a fire at St. Paul’s AME church last Wednesday night. 

“Just to think that this thing could go up in flames. It was heartbreaking,” said church member Jessica Brown.

Brown was in a meeting downstairs when she heard the smoke alarm go off. She ran upstairs and opened the sanctuary doors.

“The flames came up and the smoke was everywhere,” said Brown.

The carpet bubbled where someone poured kerosene. There is now a large hole in the carpet where they started the fire. It also burned a nearby pew.

“We exchanged the pews so that when people came in Sunday it wouldn’t look so bad,” said Pastor Jerry Robinson.

The fire came just days after Kitana Beauchamp found a noose in her locker at Corydon Central High School. Police said that prompted the FBI to step in to determine if the fire was a hate crime.

Robinson said she doesn’t think the two incidents are connected.

“To me, if it's a racial thing, I believe they would have blown up the whole church,” said Robinson.

Robinson said the Beauchamps are members of the church, but not active.

Services are still being held and the church is working with their insurance agency to make repairs.
Police said they are currently examining evidence and following leads.