Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Whitley Church Fire Officially Ruled As Arson

A fire that destroyed Whitley Memorial United Methodist Church on Wilson ’s Mills Road Sunday morning was officially ruled arson on Tuesday. Officials said the possibility of any electrical problems was ruled out before making the announcement the blaze was intentionally set. Alvin Lee Parrish, 17, who lives within sight of the church, is charged with breaking into the sanctuary Sunday morning minutes before the 5-alarm fire was reported. However, Parrish has not been charged with setting the blaze. Smithfield police detectives spoke with two persons of interest on Monday, and are looking for at least one other individual for questioning, but so far only Parrish has been charged in the church break-in. Parrish is also implicated in another break-in Sunday morning at the nearby Dunn’s Convenient Mart where 3 cases of beer were stolen. The teen remains in the Johnston County Jail under a $100,000 bond. Photo by Carter Rabil


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