Man set fire to awning at Orlando church with person inside, deputies say

Deputies: Man, 21, seen holding lighter to awning at church entrance

ORLANDO, Fla. – A 21-year-old man was arrested after deputies said he intentionally started a fire outside a church in Orlando while at least one person was inside.

Deputies said Daron Sanders was seen outside ACE Faith Kingdom Church on Monetary Drive shortly before midnight by a woman who was inside the church.

The woman told authorities she was getting dropped off by her kids when she saw Sanders shirtless and waving a lighter in the air near the entrance of the church.

She went to the back of the church to avoid him, but was able to see him through a glass door once she was inside, deputies said.

According to the report, the woman said Sanders set one part of the awning on fire before running to the other side of it to burn the opposite corner.

Sanders continued to burn the awning and ran from side to side, stepping on the melted portions of it while screaming for help, the report said.

The woman called her son and told him someone was burning the church down, her son told authorities.

Deputies arrived and looked at surveillance video that captured Sanders holding the flame from the lighter to different parts of the awning, according to the report.

Authorities contacted the owner of the church, who was not there at the time of the incident and said she wanted to press criminal charges, the report said.

Deputies said Sanders was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center to be checked for injuries and was taken to Orange County Jail around 3:50 a.m. Saturday.

According to the report, the flames caused an estimated $1,000 in damages. 

Sanders is charged with criminal mischief under $1,000 and arson of a structure known or believed to be occupied, the report said. Deputies said Sanders should have known someone was in the church because the door was transparent.