Firefighting, Leadership

Man Put Gasoline on Self Before Fatal Ocean City (MD) Fire

Ocean City fire investigators said they believe that the man who entered a church on fire, killing the reverend and injuring a woman as the fire spread, poured gasoline on himself as part of a suicide mission, reports The Baltimore Sun.

The Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday that John Raymond Sterner bought gasoline and spread it on his body to act as an accelerant just before he burst into St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church on fire as volunteers were opening a Thanksgiving food bank.

Sterner died in the fire, which quickly spread in the church and was responsible for the death of the church’s reverend, David Dingwall, who firefighters found unconscious on the second floor of the building, which experienced heavy smoke and heat, city officials said. Dingwell died while being treated at Atlantic General Hospital.

A food bank volunteer, who city officials didn’t identify, also sustained injuries while trying to escape the Shepherd’s Crook facility on the church’s compound during the fire. She is being treated at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and her condition was unknown, city officials said.

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