Valley kids: Teens charged in Afton arson

Three Waynesboro teens have been charged with arson in connection with last month's fire at the Skyline Parkway Motel in Afton.

Seven fire departments from as far away as Staunton responded with 11 water tankers to the call at the vacant lodge in the early morning hours of July 9, but taming the blaze took about two hours. The State Police in Appomattox initially suspected arson because of the presence of assorted accelerants at the scene.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Chilton Reed confirmed earlier this week that the juveniles have been served with petitions and could face time in a detention center. According to Reed, none will serve beyond the age of 21 unless they're tried as adults.

"A lot of that depends on their previous criminal history," says Reed, noting that at least one of the alleged perpetrators is 17.

However, he also suggested that they might have other options with the right judge. "A lot of it depends whether any attempts at restitution are made. There are lots of factors," he said.

According to owner Phil Dulaney, the Motel opened in 1949 at the top of Afton Mountain. Even before the recent fire, the complex had fallen largely into disrepair, overrun with weeds, broken glass, and the victim of at least two previous fires.

While some of the nearby businesses­ in particular, the nearby Inn at Afton­ remain open, a Howard Johnson's restaurant remains dormant despite its still-blisteringly orange roof. The once-thriving peak sports, in addition to the Inn, a convenience store and a tourist information center, but not much else.

Dulaney declined to comment on the arrests.



The Skyline Parkway Motel two months ago and 12 hours after the fire.

PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO

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