BREWSTER, Mass. (WHDH) — Police have arrested a man who now faces arson charges in the case of a massive fire that destroyed the Cape Cod Alliance Church in Brewster.

Investigators called it arson from the start, ruling right away that someone had to have set the fire that took down a Brewster church.

Less than 24 hours after the church was reduced to rubble, a 29-year-old Brewster man was arrested for torching the building.

“It eases the mind because you don’t want a person like that on the loose,” said the church’s pastor, Myron Heckman.

Police won’t say what led to the arrest, but the suspect’s family is shocked to learn their son may have set the fire. In a statement sent to 7News they described their son as mentally ill. They wrote:

“We tried to get him help for his illness. He has been in and out of psychiatric inpatient care. It saddens us greatly that the mental health system in this country is so broken.”

More than 300 parishioners learned early Friday morning there was nothing left of their 25-year-old building.

“It’s a horrible thing and it’s really surprising. On Cape Cod, you don’t expect this sort of thing to be happening,” said Paul Schulemburg.

“I think we’re gonna have some tears and distress yet to come,” said Heckman.

Like the church's members, the suspect’s parents said they're devastated and shocked to learn their son may have started this fire. They also wrote,

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the congregation of the Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church. To have their church burned down especially during this holiday season is heartbreaking.”

Investigators said the fire is unrelated to a recent chain of arson in southeastern Mass. The suspect is set to be arraigned on Monday.

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