Volunteer SC firefighter charged with arson in church fire

MONCKS CORNER, S.C.  — The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has charged  a Bonneau man  in connection to a fire at the Macedonia Church of God and Prophecy at 1101 Church of God Road in Bonneau on January 20th as well as a fire at the Walgreens on Hwy 52  in Moncks Corner on Wednesday, January 25.

18-year-old Randy Wayne Cannon Jr. has been arrested and charged with two counts of arson in the second degree for both crimes which carries a penalty, upon conviction, from three years up to 25 years in prison. Cannon has been booked at the Berkeley County Detention center.

We spoke to Bonneau Police Chief, Franco Fuda who says he never thought Cannon was capable of these crimes. He has know Cannon since he was a young boy and says he has always been devoted to the fire department.

“It is all he has ever talked about. He has lived, breathed, and slept it. As a small child he would run around in firemen gear,” said Fuda.

According to spokesman Thom Berry, SLED was called in to investigate a fire  along with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department.

SLED Arson investigation determined  that the fire at the Walgreens store was set intentionally by an open flame and combustible materials found in the room. Using surveillance video investigators witnessed the suspect entering the room using a key and remaining alone in the room for several minutes. Minutes later patrons were seen fleeing the building.

This photo, posted on the church's Go Fund Me page, shows Macedonia Church in flames.
This photo, posted on the church’s Go Fund Me page, shows Macedonia Church in flames.

 

SLED also found when investigating the cause of the fire at the Macedonia Church of God and Prophecy that the fire was also intentionally set by an open flame and the intentional application of an ignitable liquid. A witness who was at the church before the fire said they saw a white Toyota pick-up truck with a tool box in the back sitting in the parking lot which matched that of the suspect.

Randy Warren Cannon Jr., who is charged in this incident is a Macedonia Rural Volunteer Fire Department firefighter and was also the first to arrive on scene at the church at the time of the incident.

We spoke to Sandra Floyd, a member of the church, who was the first to notice the fire. She says Cannon was friendly and helpful even pointing out the suspected cause.

“He was walking around talking to folks being very friendly and helpful,” said Floyd. “It is an insult for somebody to do that to a church. I can’t understand why you would do that. He has not just touched a building has touched a community,” she added.

Cannon was also a part-time employee at this Walgreens store.

The Walgreens is operating on a normal schedule as of Thursday morning. We are working to learn how much damage was caused at the store.

The community of the Macedonia Church of God and Prophecy has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the damages to the church, on the page it states that the church has been vandalized and robbed various times in recent years.

Floyd is also in charge of the church’s food pantry. She says all of their stock was destroyed. They are supposed to distribute food in a couple of weeks but Floyd says she does not how she will get enough donations to do so.