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Three men charged with 2014 arson of Colonial Beach landmark

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Photo courtesy of Bobby Hooker

COLONIAL BEACH, Va. – Three men have been arrested a year after a Colonial Beach landmark, the elementary school, burned down.

On Jan. 5, 2014, around  4 a.m., neighbors reported hearing a boom and then just minutes later the building was engulfed in flames. The vacant public building was completely destroyed in the blaze. No one was injured as a result of the fire.

All three suspects that were charged are from Colonial Beach.

Thomas G. Perry, 24, and Parrish Muse, 21, are being held without bond at the Northern Neck Regional Jail. Carlos Bermudez, 19, was released on bond.

A Westmoreland County grand jury indicted Perry and Muse each for one count of burglary, one count of conspiracy to commit arson, one count of arson of an unoccupied dwelling and one count of damage to a public building. Muse was indicted on arson of an occupied dwelling and trespassing on school property.

All three were taken into custody Tuesday, April 28, without incident.

Police said they had an “overwhelming response and tips generated by area residents” that led to the arrests.

The structure was condemned after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Virginia and parts of the East Coast in August 2011.

It was being used to store school supplies at the time of the fire.

Still, the school held special memories for many in the small town, as thousands of students passed through its hallways, going back to at least 1940. It previously served as the community’s high school. Hundreds of folks from across the state came to survey the damage.