14 Sep 2014
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Haymarket Man Accused of Burning Baptist Church

The fire happened on Aug. 10 in Haymarket.

Haymarket Man Accused of Burning Baptist Church

Police named a Haymarket man as a suspect in the August burning of a Baptist church in the small Western Prince William County town where he lives. 

Maurice Thomson Michaely was arrested Thursday and charged with burning or destroying a dwelling house, Prince William County Fire Battalion Chief Curtis Brodie wrote in a press release on Friday.

The blaze happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 10 at the 135-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on Lee Highway, according to WJLA reports.

Church members told reporters from the ABC affiliate station that they were able to salvage two Bibles—one from the pulpit—after the blaze.

They weren't able to recover several backpacks stuffed with school supplies that were in the church.

The congregation was preparing to give the backpacks to 100 needy children.

Firefighters said the church suffered "significant" damage in the blaze, but said a specific dollar amount in damage isn't available.

An investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally set, Brodie said.

Clues eventually led to arrest of Michaely, according to the release.

Fire investigators declined to comment on a motive or on whether Michaely was affiliated with the congregation.

The investigation continues with the assistance of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Michaely remains in custody without bond at the Prince William County Adult Detention Center. He is set to appear in court on Jan. 23.

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