A portion of a church in San Jose went up in flames Sunday morning, and arson investigators are trying to figure out what triggered the blaze.
Flames ignited inside a plastic shed connected to the Assyrian Church of the East near Willow Glen around 1 a.m., but a neighbor caught a glimpse of the blaze and called it in to authorities before it could get out of hand, according to Alex Alexander, president of the volunteer church committee at the parish.
Surveillance footage from the scene showed a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt jump a fence and light the shed, which primarily contained tools, on fire, according to Alexander. The act was something Alexander never expected to see.
"We're all kind of surprised and perplexed because we've never had anything like this happen in this area, to the church," he said. "We don't know who would want to do something like that."
Aside from being surprised, Alexander noted that the fire was "scary," and he said the possibility that it may have been caused by an arsonist "was really, really disturbing."
"What's really scary is that whoever did this actually wanted to do damage," he said.
Fire crews were able to douse the flames before they spread into the sanctuary, according to Alexander.
"We're fairly fortunate," he said. "We're grateful for our neighbors that they called the fire department, and the fire department was able to get here in time to put out the fire."
An investigation with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is ongoing.