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A man nearly torched his lower extremities while trying to burn down a Florida church, surveillance footage suggests.
At around 1:40 in the morning on August 14, first responders in Broward County received a report about a fire at Power Outreach Ministry church in Oakland Park, Florida, just a few miles north of Fort Lauderdale. When members of Oakland Park Fire Rescue and deputies with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene, they almost immediately began to suspect arson.
"After extinguishing the fire, firefighters alerted deputies to evidence that the fire at the Power Outreach Ministry may have been intentionally set. The Oakland Park City Fire Marshal responded to the scene and determined the fire to be arson," said a statement from the sheriff's office.
Fortunately, the church had at least one surveillance camera overseeing the parking lot. That camera caught what appears to be a young man setting the church on fire deliberately.
The video shows a tall, lanky suspect wearing shorts and a T-shirt sauntering onto church grounds carrying what appears to be a gasoline can. The individual then proceeds to pour contents of the can onto some of the church's landscaping.
The suspect then sets two fires, reportedly by igniting paper towels. The suspect appears to be surprised by the force of the blazes. After lighting the first fire, he jumps out of the way to avoid burning himself.
Despite the near-catastrophe, he then walks a few steps and sets yet another fire. This time, the blaze not only ignites around some bushes, but blue flames almost immediately pool around the man's shoes, threatening to engulf his lower body.
The suspect then takes off running, a move that causes the flames to be extinguished, the video footage indicates.
The suspect seemed to have narrowly avoided harming himself too severely, but apparently did manage to inflict some injury to the church. Reports claimed that the alleged arson caused about $1,000 worth of damage to church property. The suspect remains at large.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact BSO Detective Robert O’Dor at 954-321-4849, submit a tip through the SaferWatch app, or give an anonymous tip through Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or browardcrimestoppers.org.
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.