Pastor at Martin Luther King Jr. Presbyterian Church reacts to recent arrest in fire investigation

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire early Monday morning.

The Department of Fire Services believes a man attempted to burn this building down at least three times before Monday.

Reverend Dr. Terrlyn Curry-Avery, Interim Pastor at the Martin Luther King Jr. Presbyterian Church, told 22News, “If this is the individual, it really sort of eases the mind a little bit to know that this person is off the street and they can’t go and do it to some other church because we certainly don’t want any other congregation to experience what we have this week.”

Maine man arrested on charges including attempted arson in fires at MLK Church in Springfield

Charged with attempted arson and malicious damage, Dushko Vulchev is being held on an unspecified bail after he was arrested Friday in Pittsfield.

The Department of Fire Services said Vulchev made one attempt to burn down Martin Luther King Jr. Presbyterian Church on December 13 and then tried two other times on December 15.

The Reverend Dr. Curry-Avery said her heart goes out to Vulchev, but she’s glad to see an arrest has been made.

“We are church that believes in social justice. We believe in setting the captive free as Jesus said so for someone intentionally try to destroy that is disheartening,” the Reverend Doctor said.

The damage to the church is clear, and the building is currently boarded up. However, the Reverend Dr. says they’ve received an outpouring or support already and that’s how they’re going to keep going.

“Know that we’re strong, and we are not crushed in spirit because we serve a mighty and awesome God,” the Reverend Dr. told 22News.

For those interested in donating to the church, click here.

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