Man accused of trying to set historic Ryman Auditorium on fire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Man accused of trying to set historic Ryman Auditorium on fire

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Jeffrey Parsley Jeffrey Parsley
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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Many aspiring singers would beat down the door for a chance to play on the storied stage of the Ryman Auditorium.

So you might imagine the anger a lot of people are feeling after learning someone tried to burn down the historic music venue.

Firefighters extinguished the flames before they got out of hand, so don't worry: the Ryman is going to be just fine. But many people will tell you that you just don't mess with the Mother Church of Country Music.

According to police, Jeffrey Parsley admitted to using a lighter to ignite newspapers near a back door of the Ryman on Aug. 18.

The flames rose several feet high, charring the door for several minutes.

The whole incident was captured on a surveillance camera, and Parsley was arrested Tuesday on an arson charge before being jailed on a $20,000 bond.

Rich with history, the Ryman is iconic for music fans of any genre and is a must-see stop for tourists in Music City.

"It's what country music is all about. Why would anyone want to take that away from everybody," said Russ Saboo, visiting from Boston.

Tragedy, outrage and heartbreak are the stuff country songs are made of, as Nashville street musician Klayton Bammelli demonstrated.

"They say that a man tried to burn down the Ryman. He tried to send it up in a flame," Bammelli sang.

The Ryman is fully open for business. Employees replaced the damaged door, and the next scheduled show is set for Sept. 8 with The National.

As for Parsley, his initial court date has been set for Sept. 3.

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