UPDATE: A 26-year-old local resident was charged Wednesday in the overnight arson fire that destroyed a Franklin Lakes church, Daily Voice has learned.
James Mayers remained hospitalized in police custody after members of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Arson Investigations Unit charged him with first-degree aggravated arson that caused the destruction of a building and burglary.
Police quickly took Mayers into custody after the fire broke out at the Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Franklin Lake Road near High Mountain Road just after 1:30 a.m., responders said.
Firefighters had the main body of the three-alarm blaze knocked down shortly before 4 a.m. and continued to hit hot spots as the sun rose and investigators searched through the rubble -- some of which responders said was spray-painted with graffiti.
The Bergen County Sheriff's Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence.
Classes at the parish's K-8 Academy of the Most Blessed Sacrament were canceled on Wednesday. That building wasn't damaged, responders said.
"Damage to the church is complete," township Police Capt. John Bakelaar said. "The fire was extensive."
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