January 25, 2011
A 51-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with felony arson for starting three fires at St. John Baptist Church in the 5400 block of Zachary Taylor Highway in Mineral.
The Louisa County Sheriff's Office responded to reports of a suspicious fire at the church the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 19. A church member checking the property discovered minor damage from three fires at the property. A rear basement door had been burned from its frame and there was damage from two small fires inside the basement fellowship hall.
The cinderblock walls and tile floor construction of the fellowship hall prevented any of the fires from spreading or causing significant structural damage.
A suspicious fire had been reported in the community the previous weekend. Two additional small, recent and suspicious neighborhood fires were brought to the attention of authorities while investigating this case. A suspect in those smaller fires was named and evidence linked that same suspect to the St. John Baptist Church fire.
The suspect, Felicia Armstrong, of Mineral, was charged with one count of felony arson for starting three fires at the church, as well as breaking and entering to start two of the fires inside the building. She was charged with one count of felony arson for burning a neighbor’s shed on Jan. 15 and two counts of misdemeanor arson for burning a neighbor’s fence Jan. 9 and another neighbor’s pile of firewood, which also damaged a nearby shelter, earlier this month.
Armstrong is being held without bond at the Central Virginia Regional Jail pending a hearing in Louisa General District Court.