News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Milford United Methodist Church

Police Identify Milford Fire Suspect

Springfield Man, 20,

Milford Fire Suspect

Gerald Althiser Jr.

SPRINGFIELD CENTER – State Police have arrested Gerald E. Althiser Jr., 20, of Springfield Center, under suspicion of starting the fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church in March.

On Saturday, July 08,  State Police arrested Althiser for allegedly starting fires in two campers.  During the investigation, police allege that Althiser admitted to setting numerous fires, including the March 12 fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church on State Route 28 in the Town of Milford.

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Arrest Made In Milford Church Fire

Teen Arrested In

Milford Church Fire

The inside of the Milford United Methodist Church following the fire. (Ian Austin/AllOtsego.com)

MILFORD – A Middlefield teen was arrested and charged with setting the fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church in March.

According to District Attorney John Muehl, state police arrested a young man on Saturday, July 8, for allegedly setting fires to several storage units in that town. During the investigation, police allegedly discovered evidence linking him to the church fire, and he was arrested.

Muehl said the suspect’s name and charges would be forthcoming from state police.

The fire was originally believed to have been an accident due to faulty electrical wiring.

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Fire At Milford United Methodist Church

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW

OF FIRST PHOTOS OF SCENE

BLAZE GUTTING

MILFORD CHURCH

Flames push out from under the front gable of the Milford United Methodist Church, which is on fire at this hour. The fire began in the rear, where the dining hall and church offices are located. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Fire Began In Dining Hall

At Rear, Spreads Throughout

By LIBBY CUDMORE & JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

MILFORD – Almost a dozen fire crews at this hour are battling a blaze at the Milford United Methodist Church at 89 Main St. at this hour.

The crews, including Milford, Oneonta, Cooperstown, Mount Vision, Schenevus and several others appeared to have the blaze under control, but it was burning too hot to be extinguished.  It appeared likely the building will be a total loss.

Efforts are concentrating on the belltower at this hour (10 p.m.)

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