SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Shenandoah County Fire Marshal is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of someone who set a family's home on fire earlier this week.
In the early hours of March 12, at 2:20 a.m., a call came into the Toms Brook Fire Department for a structure fire in the 3400 block of North Main Street.
A father, 16-year-old daughter, and an 18-year-old son were inside when the daughter was awakened by a smoke detector and got everyone else in the house out. Their mother was out of the house at work at the time, according to the fire marshal's investigation.
One dog also made it out of the house safely.
Firefighters with Wagon 9 arrived, and had knocked down the fire on the front porch, then went inside and continued extinguishing the fire, which was listed as under control by 3:57 a.m.
They had the help of the Woodstock Fire Department, Woodstock Rescue, Strasburg Fire Department, Strasburg Rescue, Star Tannery Fire Department, Mt Jackson Rescue and Fire Department, Edinburg Fire Department, and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue.
Afterward, a search warrant was obtained for the property, where investigators collected evidence including several debris samples, part of a tire, parts of siding, electrical and plastic components, and fingerprints.
Investigators determined the fire to have been an arson.
Fire Marshal David Ferguson called it a "really brutal crime," saying fire only takes seconds to minutes to spread, and if the daughter had not been woken up by the smoke detector, multiple people could have been killed.
Ferguson says burning an occupied building could result in a life sentence and even charges of attempted murder.
They're still looking into possible motives for the fire, including the flags that were displayed on the front porch.
Anyone who knows anything about the crime should call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 540-459-6177. Information leading to a conviction comes with a reward of $5,000.
The investigation is being assisted by the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (and their tracking K9), Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office (and their accelerant K9), Warren County Sheriff’s Office (with their tracking K9 too), the ATF, the Red Cross, and the Shenandoah Building Inspection Department.
The Red Cross of Virginia is helping support the family displaced by the arson.