Cops and Courts

Man charged with arson in church fire

A 19-year-old man is charged with second degree arson after police say he admitted to setting a fire in the bathroom of The Church of Morning Glory on Mason Dixon Highway.

Monongalia County deputies responded to the church on Oct. 23 in reference to a burglar alarm, according to the criminal complaint. Once on scene, smoke was observed billowing from the eaves of the building.

When circling the building, Deputy Watkins reported seeing the front window of the church had been broken. Once firefighters extinguished the flames, Watkins said they entered the church to find the source of the fire.

Firefighters on scene told Watkins that a pile of napkins had been on fire in a bathroom near the back of the church, the complaint said. The deputy also reported the alarm system inside the building was broken into the wall, “as if it had been punched.”

A witness told Watkins they saw a male walking near the church and gave a description.

According to the complaint, Tylor J. Fortune, 19, was identified and questioned by officers regarding the fire. Fortune allegedly admitted to setting the fire and was taken into custody.

At the sheriff’s department, Fortune was read his Miranda Rights and agreed to be interviewed by investigators, the complaint said. He allegedly told officers he broke into the church, set the fire in the bathroom, then left the building once the fire got out of control.

He also allegedly admitted that on his way out, he smashed the burglar alarm system near the front door in an attempt to disarm it. He then fled the scene.

Fortune is charged with second degree arson and is being held at North Central Regional Jail on $50,000 bond. If convicted, he could face one to 10 years in prison.