Va. firefighter charged with felony arson over abandoned building fire

Ray Boyd Kerns, who later confessed, was among the more than 20 Woodstock firefighters who responded, in addition to mutual aid crews

By Leila Merrill

WOODSTOCK, Va.  — Ray Boyd Kerns, a volunteer firefighter with the Woodstock Fire Department, faces charges and is accused of setting fire to an abandoned building Friday.

He was in the first crew to arrive on the scene, an investigator said Monday.

Shenandoah County Assistant Fire Marshal Joe Loving spoke with the Northern Virginia Daily.

Investigators watched a surveillance video that showed Kerns at the abandoned building 30 minutes before the fire was reported.

More than 20 Woodstock firefighters, including Kerns, plus firefighters from other departments responded and found the 1902 multistory wood-frame building engulfed, the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue said in a news release.

Kerns, 36, was charged with felony arson and destruction of property.

 “(Kerns) did respond and, ultimately, he was identified as a suspect and he volunteered to come to Woodstock (Police Department) and we conducted an interview with him and, at that point, he confessed to the fire,” Loving said.

Police took Kerns into custody, and additional charges have not been ruled out.

The Woodstock Fire Department said Kerns has been suspended, NBC29 reported.


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