Written by: Des Moines Register
The pastor of a Des Moines church that suffered extensive fire damage Friday had something to smile about Tuesday when his dog was found alive in the building, four days after the blaze took place.
The Rev. David Reasby said arson inspectors had just completed a walk through of the Lighthouse Full Gospel Baptist Church at 1600 E. Capitol Ave. Monday morning when his chihuahua Lil Bit followed them out of the building. He thought the dog had died in the fire.
"She was hungry, thirsty, dirty, her eyes were matted, but she survived," Reasby told the Des Moines Register this morning.
Lil Bit has been a part of Reasby's family for 10 years, and the pastor even contemplated buying a cross and flowers to place outside the building for the dog over the weekend, he said.
"I cried," Reasby said of seeing the dog alive. "You hear about people who love their animals like their children, like a part of their families. That's what Lil Bit was to us, a member of the family."
For Reasby, it was a bright spot in the long days that followed Friday's fire.
One person, James "Chief" Galbo, 56, was arrested Friday night and charged with first-degree arson in relation to the fire. Galbo had been living at the church and Reasby has identified him as an assistant there.
A sale was pending on the building at the time of the fire, Reasby said. Des Moines Fire Department spokesperson Brian O'Keefe told the Register over the weekend that the church had been used as a shelter for several years and had been cited for several fire code violations.
Reasby said disagreements with the city over the building's use were a primary reason he put it up for sale.
On Wednesday, the pastor said he's seen an outpouring of support from people around the city and the state. It hasn't been determined whether the building will need to be torn down, he said.
Des Moines Register