A man has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a Salvation Army worship and service center Thursday night in Brooklyn Park.
Security cameras recorded a man breaking into the center at 10011 Noble Parkway after hours and smashing most of the building's windows. The video showed him inside the chapel setting fire to a pew piled with a chair and winter coats that were to be distributed to families , said Salvation Army spokesman Dan Furry.
The man also vandalized office areas and portions of the food shelf, Furry said.
"It was very disturbing and devastating," he said.
A sprinkler system helped douse the flames, but there was still significant smoke and water damage, Furry said. The coats were ruined.
"We are going to need the community to donate new [winter] coats," he said. "The ones we have we can't use."
Staff members were on site Friday to accept donations, Furry said.
A 33-year-old Champlin man was arrested at the scene and was being held on felony arson and burglary charges at the Hennepin County jail.
Police matched the suspect's clothing to the clothing worn by the man shown in the surveillance video breaking into the church and lighting the fire in the sanctuary, Brooklyn Park police inspector Elliot Faust said.
The center was closed Friday, and a company was on site to begin cleaning the building. Furry said he did not know when the center would reopen, though he said he hopes it will next week. Sunday church services were likely to be canceled, he said.
The estimated cost of repairing the damage was not yet available, Furry said. "There is a lot of work to be done in the chapel," he said. "It definitely will be repaired."
The center, which opened in 2001, is one of the Salvation Army's newest facilities in the metro area. Over the past three years, the center has seen "increasing demand" for services and a growing church membership, Furry said. The food shelf was added last year.