Local News

Smithfield Church Fire Ruled Arson

Posted April 24, 2007 9:50 a.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2007 9:56 a.m. EDT

— Investigators on Tuesday determined that a weekend church fire in Johnston County was set.

Smithfield police discovered the fire at Whitley Memorial United Methodist Church Sunday morning while investigating a break-in at a nearby business.

Alvin Parrish, 17, has been charged with breaking into a convenience store and stealing three cases of beer, then breaking into the church.

No one has been charged with arson in connection with the church fire.

Police said three people are wanted for questioning in the church break-in and fire.

Officials said they believe the church's main sanctuary is damaged beyond repair. Church members said they hope they can hold service in a smaller sanctuary on the property.