Historic Black church in Scott County intentionally set on fire

STAMPING GROUND, Ky. (WTVQ) – An historic Black church in Scott County that was built by freed slaves in the late 1800’s burned to the ground overnight and investigators say the fire was intentionally set, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Scott County Assistant Fire Chief Jim Kanavy told the newspaper the privately-owned Watkinsville Baptist Church on Watkinsville Lane outside Stamping Ground, was first intentionally set on fire around 10:30 p.m. Saturday and again sometime overnight.

The report says the second fire that ultimately destroyed the church, was not the result of a re-spark or restart of the first fire, but a case of arson, according to Assistant Chief Kanavy.

This was not the first time someone tried to burn down the church.  The report says in February 2017, someone threw a Molotov-style cocktail through a window.  The report says that fire was put out before it spread.

The once thriving church was no longer in operation.  The report says Alan Covington bought the building about five years ago and converted the back part of the building into an apartment.  The report says no one was renting the apartment at the time of the fire.

Covington told the Herald-Leader it’s unlikely the building was specifically targeted because it was once a Black church.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the church arson to contact the Scott County Fire Department at 502-863-7853.

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