Gulfport church fire suspect in custody, charged with arson - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

breaking

Gulfport church fire suspect in custody, charged with arson

A Gulfport church is destroyed after it caught fire Saturday morning. (Photo source: Submitted Photo) A Gulfport church is destroyed after it caught fire Saturday morning. (Photo source: Submitted Photo)
(Photo source: Submitted Photo) (Photo source: Submitted Photo)
(Photo source: Submitted Photo) (Photo source: Submitted Photo)
(Photo source: Submitted Photo) (Photo source: Submitted Photo)
Caleb Bell (Photo source: GPD) Caleb Bell (Photo source: GPD)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

A Gulfport man is in custody in connection with a church fire early Saturday morning.

Caleb Deandre Bell, 22, was arrested and charged with arson and burglary of Hillside Baptist Church on Robinson Road.

Bell reportedly forced his way into the Gulfport building through a side door. Once inside, Bell allegedly removed church property before starting a fire in the sanctuary around 8 a.m.

According to Gulfport Fire Chief Michael Beyerstadt, crews arrived to find heavy smoke and a burglar alarm going off at the church. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames in the building, however, the inside of the building received significant smoke damage.

The suspect, who called officials to report the fire, stayed on the scene and was taken into custody without incident. 

The church's senior pastor, Dr. Travis Anderson, says the entire interior of the church is ruined.

"We don't have anything," a dismayed Dr. Anderson said. "Everything is burned up, instruments and pews and everything. It's totaled, done. Everything inside is gone."

Anderson is raising money online to rebuild the church. 

After booking, Bell was taken to the Harrison County Adult Detention Facility and held with no bond. 

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

  • NEWSMore>>

  • NWS confirms 5 tornadoes touched down in South MS Saturday

    NWS confirms 5 tornadoes touched down in South MS Saturday

    Thursday, April 19 2018 7:05 PM EDT2018-04-19 23:05:43 GMT

    The National Weather Service office out of New Orleans has completed damage surveys on four tornadoes that touched down in South Mississippi Saturday. 

    More >>

    The National Weather Service office out of New Orleans has completed damage surveys on four tornadoes that touched down in South Mississippi Saturday. 

    More >>
  • Bay St. Louis firefighter severely injured in motorcycle accident

    Bay St. Louis firefighter severely injured in motorcycle accident

    Thursday, April 19 2018 6:26 PM EDT2018-04-19 22:26:12 GMT
    Chief Monty Strong with the Bay St. Louis Fire Department said the firefighter was traveling on his motorcycle on his way to work when he collided with another vehicle. (Photo source: Bay St. Louis Fire Department)Chief Monty Strong with the Bay St. Louis Fire Department said the firefighter was traveling on his motorcycle on his way to work when he collided with another vehicle. (Photo source: Bay St. Louis Fire Department)

    A Bay St. Louis firefighter was badly injured in an accident Wednesday around 6:45 a.m. 

    More >>

    A Bay St. Louis firefighter was badly injured in an accident Wednesday around 6:45 a.m. 

    More >>
  • Jackson Elementary will stay open for the 2018-19 school year

    Jackson Elementary will stay open for the 2018-19 school year

    Thursday, April 19 2018 6:01 PM EDT2018-04-19 22:01:40 GMT
    Jackson Elementary School in Pascagoula (Photo source: WLOX)Jackson Elementary School in Pascagoula (Photo source: WLOX)

    Jackson Elementary School will not be closing for the 2018-2019 school year. City officials met with leaders of the Pascagoula Gautier School District Thursday to discuss drainage issues on the school’s campus cited by the school district earlier this week. “We were happy to sit down today with the school district officials, for the first time, to discuss the drainage issues they are experiencing on the campus of Jackson Elementary,” said Assistant City Manager Fran...

    More >>

    Jackson Elementary School will not be closing for the 2018-2019 school year. City officials met with leaders of the Pascagoula Gautier School District Thursday to discuss drainage issues on the school’s campus cited by the school district earlier this week. “We were happy to sit down today with the school district officials, for the first time, to discuss the drainage issues they are experiencing on the campus of Jackson Elementary,” said Assistant City Manager Fran...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly