Man who says he was using heroin starts small fire at Huntington church, officials say

Huntington police and firefighters are investigating after a man set a small fire at a Second Presbyterian Church on Huntington's West End Sunday morning. (WCHS/WVAH)

A man is charged with second degree arson after police say he set a small fire in the upstairs of Second Presbyterian Church in Huntington, Sunday morning.

David Richards, the pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Huntington, said at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday that man, Wylie Vanover Jr. came into the church and said he was hungry. Richards said he told the man he could give him some cookies and coffee and took him into the sanctuary where he prayed with him.

Richards said Vanover was acting strange so he got help from a church member who specializes in helping people who struggle with addiction and Vanover admitted he had been using heroin.

At some point, Richards said Vanover disappeared and they thought he had left the church, but a short time later a church member ran into the church telling everyone to get out because there was a fire.

According to Richards, Vanover had gone to the third floor of the church and set clothes on fire and then left.

Richards said the church is mainly concrete and brick so it only suffered some water and smoke damage.

Vanover will be arraigned Sunday night.

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