Chapel fire investigation continues - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chapel fire investigation continues

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Nathaniel Payne says they were putting the final touches on their new chapel before it caught fire and burned down. Payne owns Martin Luther King Memorial Chapel Funeral Home on MLK Drive in South Albany.

"We were fixing to put the windows in. We were going to sheetrock it, we were fixing to sheetrock it, and brick it at the same time, and it would have been completed," says Owner Nathaniel Payne.

Construction of the chapel started last May, and Payne had plans to open the new, 3500 square foot building, in November.

"We wanted to be able to accommodate the families that we serve. We were also doing it in honor of my mother who passed away, and we felt the need to expand to accommodate the families that we serve," says Payne

He says he was surprised when he received a phone call early Saturday morning that the building caught fire.

"Well at first I was a little shocked and saddened," he says.

He believes the fire was deliberately set.

"Well there was no power in the building, the air conditioning duct work was in, the building was wired, but there was no electricity in the building," says Payne.

He's operated his funeral business in Albany for 35 years, and although he's disappointed by the loss, he says he plans to move forward, and build another chapel.

"As soon as they give us the go ahead we are going to clean up and start building again," he says.

Fire officials say they have not had any recent incidents of Arson on the southside of the city.

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