Church's box truck destroyed in arson

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. — A box truck used by a Maple Valley church to make holiday food bank deliveries was destroyed in an arson overnight.

The truck belongs to Generational Hope Christian Center.  Hours later, and two miles away from the church, another vehicle was also destroyed by flames.

PHOTOS: Church truck torched in Maple Valley

Fire officials said they don't yet know if there's some sort of connection between the two.

A neighbor of the church said that transients had been living on the property and that one person had been living near the van that caught fire.

Neighbor Jeff Holden told KIRO 7 he saw flames as high as 30 feet shoot from the burning vehicle starting at about 2 a.m.

The church uses the van for ministry purposes to deliver items such as food and clothing.

"We use it all the time. To help people move, delivering food and really just use it because there's a lot of need out there," said Pastor Justin Garland.

Garland said the fire put their food bank deliveries during the holidays at risk.

"I think (it's) more just the feeling that someone would potentially do this is pretty sickening, but we have a lot to be thankful for, for sure," said Garland.

The church suffered two much more personal losses in March.

Pastor Ed Pohlreich died in a car crash in Uganda, Africa along with longtime friend and fellow missionary Pastor Scott Volz, also from Maple Valley. A local Ugandan pastor, Stephen Kaweesa, was also killed in the crash.

The church said Pohlreich was a part of Generational Hope Christian Center his entire life and Volz was a part of the church for more than 25 years.

Meanwhile, the second vehicle fire in Maple Valley burned a truck. Neighbors told KIRO 7 they heard an explosion and then a truck erupted into flames outside a home.

Fire investigators said they don't know if arson is to blame for that fire and it's too soon to say if it's connected to the church truck fire.

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