Arrests made following fire at Lanarkshire church

An Airdrie church was damaged by a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, forcing the cancellation of its weekly service and closure “until further notice”.

Jackson parish church, on Glen Road in Petersburn, is now shut while the impact of the blaze is assessed, with officials saying there has been “significant smoke and fire damage”.

Two males have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

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Firefighters were called to the church just after 3am on Sunday, February 13, with two appliances racing to the scene to extinguish the blaze.

No injuries were reported and church representatives are now assessing the damage caused to the front of the building but say they aim to resume their regular services at the earliest opportunity.

Parishioners were informed of the news in social media messages early on Sunday morning, ahead of the church’s scheduled 11am Sunday worship.

Reverend Kay Gilchrist posted: “It is with regret that we have to cancel the service today and the church building will remain closed until further notice.”

She later added: “[I] just want to say a massive thank you for all your kind words of encouragement and support for our church.

Th fire occurred during the early hours of Sunday

“No words are sufficient to say how much appreciation and gratitude I have for [the person who] called the fire brigade – the damage to the vestibule is extensive but could have been much worse without the 999 call.

“I have thanked him and his friends wholeheartedly on behalf of the church. Hope still lives on amidst the hurt and pain.”

Hundreds of responses poured into the church’s Facebook page, with parishioners and local residents sharing their shock at the “terrible news” and sharing prayers from neighboring congregations.

The minister and congregation received many supportive messages, including promises to “rally round and get our church back in order” and expressing hopes that it “will be open for services very soon”.

A Church of Scotland statement told how they had been “saddened” by the “very distressing incident” at the church, which serves the communities of Petersburn and Craigneuk.

A spokesperson told Lanarkshire Live: “The church has been welcoming people through its doors since 1975 and has always enjoyed the full support of the community.

“The congregation is very grateful for all the support it has received and grateful to the person who called the fire service preventing more extensive harm to the church.

“We are assessing the damage and assisting the police with their inquiries. We plan to resume our Sunday services as soon as possible.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson told Lanarkshire Live: “We received a report of a fire at a church on Glen Road, Airdrie, around 4am on Sunday, February 13.

“There were no reports of any injuries.

“Two males, aged 16 and 23, have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident. They were expected at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday, February 14.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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