Man arrested in church fire

Published 11:37 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

A Magnolia man has been arrested and charged in connection with a fire that damaged a Dixon’s Mill church.

Ronnie Lee Watkins, 50, was charged with second-degree arson and placed in the Marengo County Jail following the investigation of the March 15 blaze at Angel Temple Church on Magnolia Church Road. The fire, which was self-extinguished upon discovery, caused considerable damage to the interior of the church building.

“The fire basically put itself out,” said Stephen Holmes, public information specialist for the state fire marshal’s office. “The damage was discovered when the congregation reported to the church for services.”

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A cooperative investigation by the Marengo County sheriff’s office and the Alabama state fire marshal’s office determined that the fire was intentionally set, and ultimately led to Watkins’ arrest.

According to state fire marshal Ed Paulk, Watkins was also a member church. No motives have been determined.