A Virginia fire marshal says an arsonist who set a church building on fire this week claims he did it because he was prevented from staying in the church’s shelter with others seeking to escape the freezing conditions. Deputy Fire Marshal Matthew Gearhart said the suspect’s name will not be released until pending charges are filed.
The fire was reported Thursday at the Market Street United Methodist Church.
The church posted on social media that everyone was safe following the fire.
Authorities in Virignia say the man was denied entry because of a history of disrupting shelters.
A New Hampshire man who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a Baptist church building has been sentenced to a quarter-century in prison.
Anthony K. Boisvert appeared in Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, New Hampshire Monday pleading guilty to nine charges of arson, assault and witness tampering, according to The Valley News. He apologized to the church, but denied some of the accusations made in a probable cause affidavit, according to a report from the Union Leader.
Boisvert’s sentence is related to crimes committed in 2016 including arson at the First Baptist Church of Lebanon. Prosecutors say he stabbed two people in an attempt to stop them from testifying.
The Church had been at the location for 145 years. The Associated Press reports the remains of the church were demolished following the fire.
Family members in January told WMUR they believe Boisvert suffers from mental illness and he needs help, not prison.
An arson at a Winston County, Mississippi church office remains under investigation.
The fire was reported Wednesday at the New Zion Baptist Church around 7:30 a.m. Investigators determined someone pushed in a window to get in the building. Once inside, they set fire to couch cushions in an office. The fire did not spread and only smoldering cushions were discovered when staff arrived.
Officials have not yet determined a suspect or a motive. A reward is offered for information leading to the arrest of the criminal who started the fire. Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call Winston County Crime Stoppers at 662-773-9999.
The fire was intentionally set in December at the New Life Worship Center in Smithfield, RI. According to a report from WPRI Television, surveillance video captured a blue SUV driving onto church property before sunrise Dec. 18 when the fire was set. A file story from WLNE says no one was in the building when the fire started.
Investigators have not determined a motive behind the criminal act.
According to a report from WFMJ, a 16-year-old admitted setting a fire on the porch of the Clark Trinity United Methodist church last month. Hermitage police Chief Eric Jewell would not say if the teen arrested was male or female, according to the Sharon Herald.
Damage to the church building was estimated at $13,000, according to Texas Gospel file stories.
The teen charged faces one count of second degree felony arson.