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Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2012, 6:53 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 31 May 2012, 5:48 PM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - WAVY.com was able to get a first look inside a Norfolk church that was deliberately set on fire earlier in the month.
Crews at Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church are repainting and cleaning as well as trying to get rid of the acrid smell of smoke inside the church. It’s all painstaking work that will take weeks to complete, perhaps months.
“I’m hoping that by mid-fall, by the end of the year, we could be up again,” Rev. John Monroe told WAVY.com. “The main work going on right now is cleaning and repainting."
Investigators say arson destroyed the newly renovated kitchen. The fire started in a hallway and continued down toward church offices, but Monroe is looking ahead.
“In terms of the building itself, there are a lot of parts of the building that’ll be much better off than they started…cleaned, repaired and everything,” he said.
He doesn’t harbor any ill will against whoever it was that intentionally set the fire at the church.
“I really think this experience has helped pull us together. It’s a close congregation before this. Now, it’s even brought us closer. It’s reminded us the church is a family of faith, not the building.”
The church is still trying to work out a plan for the families who used the daycare center. Monroe said the church has had several offers of help, but it takes some time to make sure all the regulations are met.
Meanwhile, fire investigators ask anyone with information regarding the arson call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
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