Arson Inspector Called After 3 Buildings in Polk County Burned to the Ground


Benton, Tn (WDEF)- The Mercy tabernacle church that has been apart of the Benton community for more than 40 years is being called a total lose after flames burned through the churches 3 buildings early Wednesday morning.

The blaze was so strong that by the time firefighters arrived on scene they felt like they were fighting a losing battle.

“The main problem we had was it was so involved and when you have a fire that is this involved you are fighting a losing battle from the get go” said West Polk County Fire Chief Keith Jeske.

After battling the fire for nearly 4 hours and dumping thousands of gallons of water on the flames fire crews left the scene with flames still visible around the church.

“It is contained with it self it is not going to spread it is just going to burn and smolder out but for the most part the fire is not going to go anywhere it is contained and it is the safest way to do it.”

As The Mercy tabernacle congregation deals with lose of their place of worship fire investigators are working to figure out what started the blaze… Arson investigators have been called and will be inspecting what’s left of the church today.

“It is better to cover all aspects at this point in time so go ahead call them in and let them investigate it im not going to go out on a limb and say it was or was not because it is really at this point in time to hard to tell.”


Firefighters in Polk County received a call of a structure fire around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Three buildings, including a church, have now been burned to the ground.

Dispatch told News 12 that West Polk Volunteer Fire was on the scene, and they had to call back up later in the morning.

An arson inspector has been called in to investigate the fire and determine if it was deliberately set.

All buildings are a total loss.

News 12 will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

Categories: Local News, Polk County

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