Officials respond to massive overnight fire in Woodstock

Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 8:41 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - According to a press release by Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue, first responders from Woodstock and neighboring towns responded to a call of a structure fire on West Locust Street in Woodstock around 9:53 p.m. Friday night. When they arrived, the building was fully engulfed in flames.

We spoke with Investigator and Assistant Fire Marshall Joe Loving with the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue on Saturday evening. He confirmed that no one was injured in the fire.

Loving said they were able to retrieve surveillance footage of a man in front of the building 30 minutes before the fire was reported. He said his “very distinct” clothing led them to the suspect.

Later, they arrested Ray Boyd Kerns, who Loving said was a volunteer firefighter with Woodstock Fire Department. WFD released a statement saying he has been suspended from the department.

Loving said Kerns confessed to starting the fire and gave them information about the fire that only the person who started it would know. Loving could not comment on how the fire was started.

Kerns was arrested with two felonies including “Burning or destroying any other building or structure” and “intentionally destroy, deface, or damage to a building”. He is being held without bond at RSW Regional Jail.

Investigator Loving acknowledged that U.S. Secret Service and the Woodstock Police Department have been investigating a missing persons case that is linked to the building, but they do not believe the two cases are connected.

According to the press release, the 1902 abandoned building was owned by Lena Frances Keegan.

Keegan has been missing for more than two years.

Woodstock Police confirmed her daughter, Elizabeth Keegan, faces embezzlement charges for writing checks out of her mother’s account and forgery of a power of attorney in an attempt to sell her mother’s property.

According to the Shenandoah Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Elizabeth Keegan was charged last October and is expected to be in court on Oct 4 of this year.

Woodstock Police Department told WHSV Monday they cannot comment on the missing person case as it is an ongoing federal investigation.

Chief Eric Reiley did say initially they do not believe the fire is connected to the missing person case but it is being investigated.

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