Man Sentenced for Setting Fire that Devastated W. Va. Town

July 12, 2007

A man who admitted setting a fire that devastated downtown Elizabeth will spend up to 60 years in prison.

Willie Trembly Jr., 20, of Wirt County pleaded guilty in May to three counts of second-degree arson, one count of breaking and entering and two counts of causing injury through arson.

Investigators say Trembly and a co-defendant, Jerod Ray Evans, set the fire on June 14, 2006, to cover up a break-in at Roberts Hardware. The wooden building, which dated to 1876, was destroyed, along with two other buildings. Two houses, a bank and a church were extensively damaged.

Two firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze.

Trembly was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison on each arson charge, 10 years on each charge of causing injury through arson and one to 10 years on the breaking and charge. Wirt County Circuit Court Judge Robert Waters ordered that the sentences run consecutively.

“We were hoping for the maximum, life in prison,” said Sara Roberts whose family owned the hardware store. “However, 60 years is a good start.”

Trembly and his attorney, Kevin B. Postalwait declined to comment.

Evans is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 7.

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