PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 11/7/18 6:25 P.M.
A man accused in a fire that heavily damaged a building owned by a Parkersburg charity pleads guilty in Wood County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.
Joshua Rogers, 31, a former client of House to Home, pleaded guilty to one count of felony destruction of property in connection with the July fire that caused about $5,000 worth of damage to an outbuilding the organization used to store donations and other supplies.
Authorities said Rogers admitted to being at the scene just before the fire started and said he might have started the blaze with a cigarette he threw to the ground.
Rogers, who's scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 7, remains in the North Central Regional Jail.
The House to Home in Parkersburg is trying to recover after a client of the house allegedly set its outbuilding on fire.
Joshua Rogers is charged with first degree arson in Wood County Magistrate Court. He allegedly caught the building behind the House to Home on fire Saturday, July 7.
The outbuilding was filled with donations and supplies the foundation uses on a daily basis. The damages to the structure as well as the contents inside total $5,000, according to the criminal complaint.
Jessy Towner, the director of operations, says she will never understand why Rogers reportedly did this, but says she's just glad no one was hurt.
She says, "House to Home has been around since 1989 obviously its doing something in this community that is needed or it wouldn't still be open, you know. And we're doing it with as much as we have, we're getting it done whatever it takes. And unfortunately not everybody is happy but again we're doing what we can do and, to just destroy, its heartbreaking."
Video surveillance shows Rogers loitering behind the house for a few minutes, before walking away out of sight. The criminal complaint says he then quickly exited the area just before the fire began.
In an interview with law enforcement, Rogers admitted to being present at the location just before the fire began. He stated that he may have started the fire with a cigarette he threw down, but no cigarettes were found on him, and he was not smoking in the surveillance footage.