Teen charged in church fire

December 05, 1996|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

A 16-year-old Baltimore County youth was arrested yesterday on a warrant charging him with setting the Jan. 30 fire that destroyed First Baptist Church of Fruitland in Wicomico County and caused $175,000 in damage, a deputy state fire marshal said.

W. Faron Taylor, the deputy state fire marshal, said the youth was arrested at his Dundalk home, charged as a juvenile with arson and remanded to J. DeWeese Carter Youth Center in Chestertown, pending a court hearing.

Taylor said the youth was a former resident of Fruitland and was a member of the church when the fire occurred.

He said that evidence gathered at the church by his office and the FBI led authorities to the youth but that no motive has been established. He said the FBI became involved in the case because of recent church fires in the South that appeared to be racially motivated.

Taylor said race was ruled out as a motive for the fire because the suspect and most of the congregation are white.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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