WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Accomack County Officials Continue Searching For Serial Arsonist
Accomack Public Safety Director Jeff Terwilliger talks about the arson fires

Play associated audio
The Whispering Pines Motel smolders after being razed by an arsonist.
Bryan Russo
The Whispering Pines Motel smolders after being razed by an arsonist.

Accomack County on Virginia's Eastern Shore is a quiet, mostly agricultural corner of our region, but in recent months, police and firefighters there have been grappling with a string of arsons — more than 70 in all since November. In the past week alone, a 19th century schoolhouse, an abandoned hotel, and a former restaurant have gone up in flames. Coastal Connection reporter Bryan Russo recently spoke with Accomack Public Safety Director Jeff Terwilliger, who says there's a definite pattern to the incidents. Following are highlights of their conversation.

On what the common thread is: "I think one of the common threads is certainly they've been vacant... and they're sporadic... one of the unique treads of that is that all of the structures have been within the county."

On how challenging the situation has been for the county's police and volunteer fire department: "The geography of the county certainly makes it difficult — a lot of remote locations, a lot of structures that sit off the road to make them potentially easy targets for someone who wants to do harm. From a law enforcement standpoint, certainly we're confident that it's just a matter of time before we find this individual. And the commitment is to hold to them accountable and bring them to justice. From a public safety standpoint, we're primarily a volunteer workforce, and I think that we need to understand what the challenges of that are. The commitment from our volunteers has been extraordinary."

On what people in the community are feeling: "It's a sense of anxiety I see, not so much fear, but anxiety, that look... we need to get this person. We need to hold them accountable, and we need to return this community to normal."

Listen to the full conversation here.

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
WAMU 88.5

The Latest on the Military, Political and Humanitarian Crises in Syria

Russia continues airstrikes in Syria. Secretary Kerry meets with world leaders in an attempt to resolve the country’s five-year civil war. A panel joins Diane to discuss the latest on the military, political and humanitarian crises facing Syria.

NPR

Twitter Tries A New Kind Of Timeline By Predicting What May Interest You

Twitter has struggled to attract new users. Its latest effort at rejuvenation is a new kind of timeline that predicts which older posts you might not want to miss and displays them on top.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.