Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Fire - UPDATE
June 13, 2013
On August 10, 2012 at 4:45 a.m., Prince William County public safety units responded to a reported structure fire at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church located at 15008 Lee Highway in Gainesville, Virginia.
First-arriving police and fire units encountered heavy fire and smoke conditions. It took approximately one hour for fire and rescue personnel to bring this developing fire under control. The church was not occupied at the time of the fire. No one was injured during the fire and damage was estimated at approximately $1,000,000.00. Fire investigators determined this fire was intentionally set and immediately began to develop leads to identify the responsible party(ies).
On November 29, 2012, Maurice Thompson Michaely of Haymarket was arrested and charged with Felony Arson for his involvement with the church fire. As the result of subsequent investigative efforts, he was additionally charged with Unlawfully Entering Property of Another with the Intent to Damage, and Maliciously Destroying or Defacing Church Property. On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, the accused, Maurice Michaely, entered a guilty plea to all three charges during his hearing in Prince William County Circuit Court. He is currently scheduled for sentencing on September 19, 2013.
This arrest and conviction was the direct result of a joint investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office, Prince William County Police Department, Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Accelerant Detection Canine teams from the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office and Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s Office also assisted with the preliminary origin and cause investigation.
Church leaders have indicated they plan to rebuild the church once building plans are completed and approved.