Convicted York County arsonist wanted in Florida for $450K church arson

| March 2, 2013

A convicted York County arsonist will get a free trip to sunny Florida when he's released from state prison.

Frankie Paul Diaz, 23, formerly of East Manchester Township, is wanted in Sarasota County, Fla., for allegedly torching a church, according to documents; he's also suspected of setting a home on fire.

"When we're done with him he'll be going straight to Florida," York County deputy prosecutor Jeff Rigby said. The state of Florida has lodged an arrest detainer against Diaz.

Diaz is accused of using gasoline to start a fire at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in North Port, Fla., about 4:20 a.m. Dec. 17, 2010, according to investigative documents.

The blaze caused $450,000 in damage to the church's fellowship hall, including significant structural damage. Flames eventually spread to two nearby palm trees, which allowed a passer-by on his way to work to spot the fire and call 911, investigators said.

Diaz fled the state a few days after the fire, documents allege.

Fled to York County: He came to East Manchester Township and moved in with his mother, but the arrangement didn't last long.

Just after 11 p.m. Jan. 4, 2011, Diaz called York County 911 to report smoke at his then-home in the 1800 block of Conewago Creek Road in East Manchester Township, telling a 911 dispatcher it was possibly caused by an electrical problem.

The blaze caused significant damage to the home, Northeastern Regional Police have said.

An arson investigator determined Diaz intentionally set four or five small fires in three separate rooms in the house, including curtains at multiple windows and in his mother's bedroom.

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Category: Church Security

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