Fatal Church Fire Caused By Man Who Set Himself Ablaze

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) — Ocean City officials say a church fire that killed the pastor was caused by a man who put gasoline on himself, set himself on fire and ran into the church ablaze.

The Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday that an investigation showed John Sterner, 56, purchased gasoline shortly before the Nov. 26 fire. Authorities say Sterner then ran into St. Paul’s By-The-Sea Episcopal Church, and the fire to spread from him to the structure.

Sterner and the church’s pastor, the Rev. David Dingwall, were killed in the fire. A woman who police did not identify was injured and remains at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled Dingwall’s death a homicide and Sterner’s death a suicide.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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