OCEAN CITY, Md. — 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 say Sterner then ran into St. Paul’s By-The-Sea Episcopal Church, and the fire to 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.