Two suspected arson fires at Bible Presbyterian Church of Charlotte in less than 14 months have put northeast Charlotte residents near Rumple Road on high alert.
With the church's former school's classrooms and a former pastor's house now destroyed by the fires, Pastor Randy Ardis isn't sure how to protect the two remaining buildings, at 6237 Rumple Road.
Signs have been put up on the property asking anyone who sees suspicious activity to contact the police. Residents in surrounding areas have posted notices in their community newsletter asking for the same cooperation.
But Ardis worries those precautions might not be enough.
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"We've got a Sunday school classroom (building) and a sanctuary," said Ardis, describing the church's remaining properties. "I'm praying they will not burn down the sanctuary. You never know these days."
Things were quieter when former pastor Victor Hall lived behind the church in a one-bedroom home. That building was burned down April 30, Ardis said.
Hall lived there from the time he retired in 1993 until his death about two years ago.
People continue to use the church's seven-acre property as a cut-through to apartments on Rumple Road.
Last March, someone burned down the former school's classrooms. They were no longer in use.
An official from the Charlotte Fire Department said both fires are under investigation.
Full-time security staff isn't an option for an aging congregation of about 50 because of the costs.
Ardis wonders whether a security system would do much good.
"How proactive do you get? said Ardis.
"If you get somebody mad, they may burn your church down. It's a Catch-22."