Cumberland Times-News

December 3, 2013

Fatal Ocean City fire caused by man who set himself ablaze


Associated Press

— OCEAN CITY (AP) — Ocean City officials say a church fire that killed the pastor was caused by a man who put gasoline on himself, set himself on fire and ran into the church ablaze.

The Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday that an investigation showed that 56-year-old John Sterner purchased gasoline shortly before the Nov. 26 fire. Authorities said Sterner then ran into St. Paul’s By-The-Sea Episcopal Church, and the fire spread from him to the structure.

Sterner and the church’s pastor, the Rev. David Dingwall, were killed in the fire. A woman who police did not identify was injured and remains at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled Dingwall’s death a homicide and Sterner’s death a suicide.