Church member reacts to arson arrest

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 11:29 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Back in January, someone set the Convent Baptist Church’s bus on fire causing more than ninety thousand dollars in damage.

Four months later investigators are charging a man in connection with the arson.

Convent Baptist Church Youth Pastor Joshua Goldsberry says the fiery blaze is seared into his memory.

Joshua Goldsberry says “The dogs were barking. My wife heard a bang when we looked outside the whole property here was orange from the fire. We looked across the road. Sparks were flying everywhere. A lot of flames pretty alarming, pretty surreal.”

Someone set the church’s bus on fire as it sat next to the building they worship in. What’s left of the bus sits in the woods looking more like a skeleton.

Goldsberry says “There’s not much left, by the time we saw it burning. The walls had completely melted off. The steering column melted. It was like fireworks on Fourth of July.”

That bus sits in the woods looking more like a skeleton.

Five months after the fiery blaze that sent shockwaves throughout a congregation, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office arrested 36-year-old Justin Eugene Parker Gualt and charged him with arson.

Goldsberry adds “It’s a little alarming, these kind of things happen almost in your backyard. So it’s a nice relief to know whoever is doing these kinds of things will no longer be able to continue to do them.”

Faith runs deep at the church and it turns out this story ends with prayers being answered.

Goldsberry says “It was a disappointment when we lost it. We used the bus, we had to transport kids to Bible class, but almost immediately after we lost it, the one that burned, the insurance replace that one of course. And then someone actually donated another bus, about twice that size. We were putting together a bus ministry, so this is perfect, timing was perfect. And God is good and we used it right away.”

Gault was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center and his bond is set at 101 thousand dollars.

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