Arson fire that damaged church buses remains unsolved; officials seek public’s help

An arson fire that damaged eight church buses last summer hasn’t been solved, and fire officials are seeking the public’s help.

“There are still names and ghosts of names out there,” Capt. Stuart Bevis said of the possible leads, “but there’s nothing solid to follow up.”

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. on July 7, Wichita firefighters responded to a fire at the First Pentecostal Church on the corner of MacArthur and Hydraulic. Investigators found fires had been intentionally set inside eight buses, severely damaging four of them and causing an estimated $30,000 in damage, Bevis said.

No accelerant was used. After forced entry, seats and other items inside the buses were set on fire, he said. The church used the buses for transporting groups and weren’t heavily insured, he added.

“This is a significant loss to them,” Bevis said. “We did get quite a few calls from the public on this, but nothing really panned out. There are no real leads.”

So as part of Arson Awareness Week, fire officials are asking again for the public’s help.

“When someone does something like this, they told a buddy and a buddy told a buddy,” Bevis said. “People know what happened. We’d like to have that information, so we can knock on some doors and talk to people.”

Anyone with information on the arson case should call the fire investigation unit at 316-337-9146 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.