3 charged in connection with fire at historic WVa church

July 14, 2022 GMT

SHADY SPRING, W.Va. (AP) — Three people have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed a historic church in West Virginia, state police said.

Braxton Allan Miller, 18, of Charleston; James Dean Elmore, 19, of Beckley; and a juvenile boy were charged in connection with the fire at St. Colman Catholic Church in the Shady Spring area of Raleigh County, police said Wednesday.

The fire was reported Sunday morning but had started the night before, police said.

Miller and the juvenile were charged with arson and conspiracy, while Elmore was charged with accessory after the fact and conspiracy. All were being held. It wasn’t clear whether they had attorneys who could comment on their cases.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that the fire was considered an act of arson and was intended destroy this historic structure so important to the lives of many in the area,” Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said in a statement.

The historic church was built in 1878 on Irish Mountain and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, WCHS-TV reported.