Historic Waynesboro church structure burned in arson case - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Historic Waynesboro church structure burned in arson case

Waynesboro historic church fire; Source: Burke County Sheriff's Office Waynesboro historic church fire; Source: Burke County Sheriff's Office
Arrested for historic church fire; Source: Burke County Sheriff's Office Arrested for historic church fire; Source: Burke County Sheriff's Office
WAYNESBORO, GA (WFXG) -

The burning of the historic church Haven-Munnerlyn has left the residents of Waynesboro devastated. “I’m trying to get my feelings together this morning to think of all of a part of my life has been erased with this fire," says Dorothy Latimore.

United Methodist Church historian, Dorothy Latimore was devastated when she got the news that the 6th oldest black church in Georgia, Haven-Munnerlyn had burned. “It was like a member of my family had gone from me. It was just heartbreaking. It was...unthinkable that such a thing would happen," says Latimore.

Haven holds a special place in Latimore’s heart, as this was her childhood church during the 1940’s and 50’s. Corporal Michael Murphy of the Burke County Sheriff’s office arrived on the scene to survey the area before Waynesboro Fire Department and Burke County EMA arrived. “Shortly after the fire department arrive, they forced entry into the church at that time. And as soon they made entry, they come back out and advised me that there was a black male sleeping in the church, inside the church," says Corporal Michael Murphy.

That male is Palmer Crumbley and he has been detained and charged with first degree arson. This fire couldn’t have hit closer to home for Latimore since the church she attends today sits just a few feet from the now charred building. “I hate to see it go, the city has lost a jewel," says Latimore.

Latimore says her church had planned to try to save the building and turn it into a museum project for the city to inform the community of the church’s black history.

Copyright 2017 WFXG. All rights reserved.

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