The structure containing the funeral home and two apartments was still standing after the blaze, but Ferrell said it would have to be demolished.
There were no bodies in the building when the fire occurred, and no one was in the apartments.
Fields told investigators he was in his apartment in nearby Whitman with his fiance and her three children when the fire occurred.
He called the incident "disheartening" because he considers his profession a service to the community.
The funeral home was previously owned by the Chatman family and was to mark its 80th anniversary later this month.
He began working there after graduating from high school and became close to the owners, who later bequeathed him the business.
"I vowed to keep it open and run it just the same as I always have," he said.
Despite the cost, Fields said he plans to rebuild and reopen.
"Whatever I get from insurance, I'll put back in," he said. "This has been my life. People have said it's not worth it, but to me, it's not a money thing. I will be back."
Anyone with information can call the arson hot line at 1-800-233-FIRE (3473). A reward of $5,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Contact writer Charles Young at charles.yo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796.
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