What Exactly Happened in the Ocean City Church Fire?
There’s a whole lot that’s fishy about the fire that destroyed an Episcopal church in Ocean City last week. If you haven’t heard, the church caught on fire when a man who was himself on fire (!?) ran into the rectory of St. Paul’s by the Sea last Tuesday morning. It only gets stranger from there.
According to the Huffington Post, the man — who has since been identified as John Sterner, 56 — was screaming for help as he ran into the church. He then hugged a female food pantry volunteer, setting her on fire, too. (She survived, and is currently recovering at Johns Hopkins Bayview.) Although some attempt was made to help the man, the fire quickly spread to the building. The church’s pastor, Reverend David Dingwall, was killed in the blaze.
“This is just such a bizarre incident,” Reverend Heather Cook of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton told WJZ. “It’s bad enough to lose somebody, but right before Thanksgiving through a bizarre kind of fire, people are stunned. It’s not just the parish. It’s the whole Ocean City community. People are aghast.”
No word yet on how Sterner caught on fire, or any other explanation for this strange and saddening incident.