05/16/06 — Four teens charged in Eureka school fire

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Four teens charged in Eureka school fire

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 16, 2006 1:52 PM

A 16-year-old student and three younger teens were arrested Monday by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and charged with crimes in connection with the burning of the old Eureka School building that was being used as a church.

Bobby Artis Jr. of N.C. 222 East, Stantonsburg, was charged with burning a house of worship, breaking and entering into a house of worship, larceny and possession of stolen goods.

Artis, a student at Charles B. Aycock High School, was released from custody on a $10,000 unsecured bond. His first District Court appearance was scheduled for today to determine his legal representation.

The other teens -- two 15-year-olds and a 13-year-old -- were not identified because of their ages and will be charged in juvenile petitions.

The 82-year-old building, a community landmark, was destroyed May 9 in a fire that authorities determined to be suspicious. More than 100 volunteer firefighters from 17 departments in Wayne, Wilson and Greene counties fought the blaze through the night and into the next day.

Eureka Fire Chief Mike Brock said the fire had started on the first floor. The interior was destroyed, and half of the roof had fallen.

Wayne County Sheriff's Capt. George Raecher said the teens' parents were very helpful in the investigation.

The old building, now occupied by the Heart of David Ministries, sustained about $150,000 in damages. It was insured.