An arsonist tried to torch the parish center of a soon-to-be-shuttered Lutheran church in Queens early Monday and used paper records — some up to a century old — to fuel the flames, officials said.
The custodian of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ozone Park just happened to be working a double shift and was across the street taking out garbage when he noticed the lights on inside the sanctuary’s community center at 85-15 101st Ave. at about 2 a.m.
“I went over and opened the door and I could feel the heat,” said custodian Nathaniel Rodriguez.
He walked inside to see the hallway’s linoleum floors had been charred and all gas burners in the kitchen had been turned on — with a can of Easy-Off on top of the stove.
It’s believed the arsonist wanted to ignite that can and start a bigger fire, said Rodriguez. Police and fire department investigators are treating the attack as arson.
The church’s last Mass was last month and it is officially closing Tuesday. It is merging with other Lutheran churches.
SOURCE: Kevin Sheehan
New York Post