PARKERSBURG - A homemade Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of a Parkersburg residence on Christmas Eve is the source of an attempted arson investigation, said officials.
Christmas Eve was interrupted when a large concrete block was thrown through the window at the home of Richard Johnson in the 400 block of 16th Street in Parkersburg at 2:39 p.m., said Police Chief Joseph Martin.
The concrete block was closely followed by a poorly constructed device believed to be an attempt at a Molotov cocktail, Martin said.
The Molotov cocktail assault has been deemed an attempted arson and is being investigated by the Parkersburg Police Department, said Martin.
There were no injuries during the incident, which caused little damage to the 16th Street home aside from the broken window, said Martin.
The Molotov cocktail consisted of an empty soda can that had paint thinner poured inside to act as an accelerant, said Martin. A wash cloth was shoved inside the can's opening, leaving only some of the cloth sticking out, he said.
The end of the wash cloth was lit when it was thrown through the window, said Martin.
"The attempt at the Molotov cocktail was so poorly constructed that it basically put itself out when it landed on its own burning cloth inside the home," said Martin.
The fact that the arson attempt failed does not excuse the incident from being considered an arson attempt, said Martin.
"Arson is a cowardly crime and carries an extensive sentence if you are convicted," said Parkersburg Fire Department Capt. Tim Flinn.
Arson is considered a felony, said Flinn. There is no statute of limitations on arson in West Virginia, he said. This means that someone can be arrested for arson for the rest of his or her life, he said.
Anyone who has information pertaining to this case is asked to call 304-424-8444 or to leave a tip on the police department website at www.parkersburgpolice.com.