Man charged with arson in Norfolk funeral home fire

Harold Wayne Centers

NORFOLK, Va. — Police have charged a man with arson after a fire at the Smith and Williams Funeral home in the 800 block of Norview Avenue.

Norfolk Fire Rescue responded to the fire early Wednesday morning.

Police say they responded to a burglary alarm and saw a man leaving the premises. Fire units arrived to the same scene at 2:51 a.m.

Fire crews forced entry and found the fire to be in the chapel area of the funeral home.

The fire was noted under control at 3:06 a.m. Officials say there were no injuries reported.

Harold Wayne Centers was taken into custody near the funeral home at a 7-Eleven.

As a result of this joint investigation Centers was charged with three counts of burning to a structure, burning to a structure while committing a felony, and burglary to a building.

Centers is being in the Norfolk City Jail without bond.

Smith and Williams Funeral Home released the following statement in regards to the fire at their business:

“We are currently working with officials on the investigation of the fire at Smith and Williams Funeral Home. Although our chapel did sustain damage, no one was harmed in the fire and no decedents or cremated remains were on site at the time of the fire.

We would like to thank the first responders and firefighters who responded to the fire and contained it immediately. We remain open to serve families in the community, operating out of the Smith and Williams Funeral Home, Kempsville location while our property is repaired. Any of our client families with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact us at 757-490-2727.”