Former Cranbrook minister dies in Maryland church fire

Fire allegedly started when food bank client set himself on fire and entered the church food bank

Rev. David Dingwall was Pastor at Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook for several years until 2003.

Rev. David Dingwall was Pastor at Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook for several years until 2003.

A former priest at Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook has died in a church fire in Maryland, which started, apparently, when a person on fire entered the building.

David Dingwall was serving as Rector at Saint-Paul’s-By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, in Ocean City, Maryland.

Dingwall was priest at the Anglican Church in Cranbrook for several years, before moving to the U.S. in 2003 with his wife and three sons. He had been at Saint Paul’s since 2005.

The fire began about 9:25 a.m. Tuesday, “when a person on fire entered the Shepherd’s Crook ministry offices,” the Episcopal Diocese of Easton said on its website.

Ocean City spokeswoman Jessica Waters told the Baltimore Sun that one man was found dead in the building when first responders arrived, while two other people, including Dingwall, were critically injured. The diocese website reported that though Dingwall’s condition stabilized at a local hospital in the afternoon, Dingwall succumbed to his injuries Tuesday evening.

USA Today reported that witnesses say a man set himself on fire then entered the church’s basement home to a food pantry and soup kitchen.

“The fire started in the basement of the church offices in what’s called the Shepherd’s Crook food bank, where you can imagine they’ve been distributing a lot of food for the (American) Thanksgiving holiday,” said Rev. Canon Heather Cook, the diocesan official.  “It’s a wooden church and it sounds like it caught fire very quickly.”

Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook gave a statement after hearing the news.

“We were shocked to hear of Rev. David Dingwall’s death and saddened by the news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the parish he was serving in Ocean City.”

Dingwall grew up in western Canada, studied for the ministry in Saskatchewan and served three parishes in B.C., including Cranbrook, before moving to the United States.

A prayer service and time of remembrance for David Dingwall will be held at Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook on Wednesday, December 4 at 7 p.m.”