By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Arrest made in Christmas church fire
Clint Vance.jpg
Clint Vance

Update Jan. 6:

A Kennesaw man already behind bars at the Cherokee County Jail now faces an arson charge connected to the Christmas Day fire at a Cleveland church, according to authorities.

An anonymous tip led authorities to Clint Vance, 33, who was in jail for previous unrelated charges.

Vance was charged Friday, Jan. 3, with one count of first-degree arson, second-degree criminal damage to property, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and vandalism of a place of worship.

The fire set at the 7,000-square-foot Solid Rock Baptist Church on Ga. 115/Dahlonega Highway burned out on its own, and the minor exterior damage was not found until the next morning.

“Thanks to an anonymous tip, we were able to locate and identify this individual less than 24 hours after announcing our interest,” said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King in a news release. “This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement, the media, and members of the public come together in search of a dangerous criminal.”

The White County Fire Department, White County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted on the case.

The maximum penalty for first-degree arson is 20 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.


01042020 CHURCH 1
Authorities are seeking information on this man who they say is a suspect in a church arson on Christmas Day in Cleveland.

Original story: An arson suspect set a fire Christmas Day on the back exterior wall of a Cleveland church, according to authorities.

The Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office issued the lookout post Friday, Jan. 3, for a suspect described as a white man in his mid to late 30s.

The fire set at the 7,000-square-foot Solid Rock Baptist Church on Ga. 115/Dahlonega Highway burned out on its own, and the minor exterior damage was not found until the next morning.

Video surveillance obtained from the church shows the suspect setting the fire.

 “We are confident that someone in the area knows who the man is in the surveillance footage,” said Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King in a news release.

Rewards up to $10,000 are being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction, and callers can remain anonymous.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the fire investigations unit at 1-800-282-5804.

The White County Fire Department, White County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have assisted on the case.


Magazines