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Martinsburg man charged with arson

August 25, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Martinsburg man was arrested early Sunday at his home following a fire Saturday night at a house at 109 Centre St., which was ruled arson, according to the Martinsburg Police Department.

Allen Keith Starcher, 45, of 117 N. Centre St., was charged with first-degree arson at about 2 a.m. Sunday, according to a Martinsburg Police Department news release.

Martinsburg Fire Department members arrived at the two-story rental house off East Burke Street about 9:50 p.m. for a fire on the front porch, said Greg Hoover, Martinsburg's chief fire investigator.

The fire destroyed the porch and spread to the first floor, causing about $40,000 in damage, Hoover said.

Witnesses told police that a man said he started the fire with a fuse, fled the area and went home to change clothes, police said.

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The release did not state a motive for the fire.

At least two women lived in the rental home, police said. No injuries were reported.

The house is not inhabitable.

The two women living there had to find other housing, Hoover said.

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