A Stafford County woman has been accused of intentionally setting a fire that caused nearly $300,000 worth of damage to a Fredericksburg Sheetz and forced the convenience store to temporarily close.

Diana Marie Thorne, 30, is charged with arson of an occupied public building. She is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

According to city police spokeswoman Sarah Kirkpatrick, a 911 call was received just before 7:30 a.m. Sunday about a fire at the store at 2001 Carl D. Silver Parkway behind Central Park. Firefighters brought the blaze under control in a relatively short amount of time.

Everyone got out of the store safely and there were no injuries. Fire Marshal Alan Crisp’s investigation quickly determined that the fire was suspicious.

Kirkpatrick said store surveillance equipment showed a woman enter the store and intentionally start a fire in one of the snack aisles. The woman was then seen leaving in a vehicle.

A lookout was broadcast for the vehicle, and it was found a short time later in the nearby Walmart parking lot. Thorne was taken into custody and later charged, Kilpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick said police and fire officials are still investigating the incident. It remains unclear why the fire was set.

An arraignment for Thorne is scheduled for Tuesday in Fredericksburg General District Court. A woman who answered the phone at Sheetz Monday said the store would probably not reopen until this weekend.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404 kepps@freelancestar.com

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