Arsonists destroy ‘Green Machine’ parked behind church school

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by Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 8:00 PM

HOUSTON -- Somebody snuck up behind the Family Christian Academy in east Houston over the weekend and set fire to the school’s only bus.

Grainy surveillance video captured images of two people running from the bus shortly after it burst into flames, igniting a rapidly spreading fire that destroyed the vehicle parishioners affectionately called “The Green Machine.”

“Looks like two individuals throw an accelerant through the back windows,” said John Bohacek, the school’s principal, as he looked at the video. “Within a matter of minutes it is a huge fire.”

A firefighter shot amateur video of flames leaping above the bus around 3:00 Sunday morning. The head pastor, who lives within walking distance of his church, was awakened a short time later.

“For me, it was 3:30 in the morning and a knock on the door, and that doesn’t mean good,” said Nathan Hyman, the pastor of the Family Church. “He said, ‘Hey, you the pastor down the street?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Well, your bus has burned up.’”

The church has suffered through a series of crimes, Hyman said, including a number of burglaries by thieves stealing wiring and air conditioning equipment. School officials speculated this latest incident was an act of vandalism committed by youngsters in the neighborhood.

The church used the bus, which the pastor said seated 30 people, to pick up children for Sunday services and to carry students to extracurricular activities like field trips and sporting events. On the morning when it was destroyed, it was scheduled to bring about 25 youngsters to church.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t insured for a fire, but the pastor has faith things will work out.

“We found out God turns around things for our good, things that were maybe meant for evil,” he said.

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