Employee charged in Rockingham Waffle House fire

By: By William R. Toler - wtoler@civitasmedia.com

ROCKINGHAM — Police have made an arrest, charging an individual for setting a fire at Waffle House last month — though that person isn’t who was initially suspected.

Shari Shepard Lang, 51, of Whitney Lane in Rockingham, is facing a felony charge of burning certain buildings, for allegedly setting fire to the 24-hour eatery Oct. 16.

According to Chief Billy Kelly, Lang was a Waffle House employee.

Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler told the Daily Journal after the incident that the building was full of smoke when crews arrived on scene.

According to Isler, a stack of to-go plates had been set ablaze in a storage room and were still burning when firefighters arrived. He also said another fire had been started near the sink in the men’s restroom with what looked like toilet tissue, but had burned itself out.

Police had originally said the suspects were two men driving some type of box truck.

Lang was arrested Nov. 4, a day after the warrant was issued, and booked into the Richmond County Jail under a $35,000 secured bond. She was released on bail Nov. 7.

Records show Lang had a court date scheduled for Nov. 17 and her next date is set for Jan. 12.

Online state records show she has no other pending charges or past criminal convictions.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

A Waffle House corporate spokesperson says the restaurant should reopen in one week.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.

By William R. Toler