Video brings increased scrutiny in Cedar Hill church fire

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Monday, May 27 at 10:08 PM

CEDAR HILL -- New video given to News 8 shows Graceland Community Baptist Church burning down on May 15.

The fire at the Cedar Hill house of worship was intense and burned quickly, and that makes investigators suspicious.

News 8 has learned the state fire marshal's arson dog did alert investigators to something suspicious on what was left of the fiberglass baptismal. Samples gathered by arson investigators including the ATF have been sent to a lab for analysis.

“My thought is, how could someone harm a house of worship?" said Pastor Cedric Stricklin.

He said the church has been around for 20 years, and was almost paid off.

"To see it all go up in flames, it was very devastating," he said.

In a memo to city leaders, the city's fire marshal said the fire remains under investigation, but is suspicious due to how quickly it evolved.

The night before the fire, there was a meeting at the church of parents upset about how the school district handled allegations of inappropriate behavior between a teacher and a student. Sources say it is something investigators are looking at.

“It was a peaceful meeting and they left it peacefully, and so we thought no harm was done," Stricklin said.

The pastor says while they lost everything, he sees signs of faith and hope. In the middle of the rubble, we found a song sheet.

“It says 'I have faith in God,'" Strickland said. "Yes, yes, and that's exactly what we have. We do have faith in God, and believe God is going to work this out for the good."

He said his church will rebuild.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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