Fire Investigation Wraps Up

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

May 5, 2005

It was a long day for investigators Friday at the scene of the fire at the Charlottesville Church of Christ.

Police say Jason Scott Santos is the man responsible for the fire that nearly destroyed the church late Thursday night.

Santos is apparently homeless and allegedly broke into the church to cook a hamburger. That's when police said a plastic bag left on the stove may have started the fire.

Early Friday morning Santos admitted himself to UVA Hospital for a cut to his hand.

Back at the church, investigators discovered a broken window and blood throughout the inside of the building, and they immediately contacted local hospitals.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said the department told hospitals that, "if in fact someone came in seeking treatment for wounds that would be consistent with that, then to notify us. That in fact occurred this morning."

That's when police questioned Santos at the hospital. He was charged with breaking and entering a short time later. They say say more charges, including arson, could be filed once the investigation is complete.

"Really what we're trying to determine here is whether in fact what this physical and forensic evidence tells us is consistent with the story that this individual provided [us with] this morning," said Longo.

Friday night fire, ATF, and police had all finished their on-site investigations. Meanwhile Santos was being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

While investigators have wrapped up their work at the scene, the church's congregation announced Friday afternoon that they will hold Sunday services at Buford Middle School starting between 11:30 and noon.

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