Man charged with arson after Mount Pleasant church fire

VIDEO: Man charged with arson after Mount Pleasant church fire

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge set bond Tuesday morning for a man accused of starting a fire Monday at a church in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant.

Landon Powers, 22, has been charged with first-degree arson and disturbing schools. A judge in bond court Tuesday morning said Powers made a bomb threat and issued him a $25,000 bond on the disturbing schools charge and no bond on the arson charge.

The judge also ordered a mental evaluation for Powers.

According to the affidavit, Powers sent a text message to Mount Pleasant dispatchers just after 12 p.m. Monday stating, “There is a bomb in a Charleston school let the kids out now.”

When the suspect wouldn’t give out a specific school name, police were able to ping his phone to an address in Mount Pleasant. While investigating the threat to schools, the fire department extinguished the fire at St. Andrews church in Mount Pleasant, the affidavit stated.

Powers was located on Ben Sawyer Boulevard and brought in for questioning on the school threat. While at Mount Pleasant police headquarters, Powers also admitted to setting a fire inside the church.

A spokesman for St. Andrews church in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village says the church’s building suffered minimal smoke damage in the fire.

A fire alarm sounded at approximately 2:30 p.m., according to church spokesman Greg Shore. The Historic Church’s facilities manager walked into the church, found the fair linen and frontal on the communion table had caught fire, and extinguished it with a handheld fire extinguisher.

Mount Pleasant Fire responded within five minutes and surveyed the building to make sure there were no other issues, Shore said.

“Nothing but praise for Mt. P police and fire departments in the handling of the 2nd fire in 2 years at St. Andrews, where Suzette and I attend,” Haynie tweeted. “Yesterday’s fire was deliberately set, and we are fortunate that our historic sanctuary was not destroyed. An arrest has been made.”

The fire department provided ventilation to remove the smoke caused by the flames, Mount Pleasant Fire spokesman Brandon Smiley said.

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