Police believe mother set apartment fire while child in home

EVERETT — Detectives believe an apartment fire south of Everett Wednesday was intentionally set by a woman who was in one of the units with her 11-year-old daughter.

The suspect, 56, allegedly admitted to using matches to set multiple fires within her apartment.

Her daughter put out some of the fires, but fled the apartment when one grew in the laundry room.

The girl was taken into protective custody after her mother was arrested for investigation of arson, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

No one was injured in the Hillcrest Estates blaze that caused more than $175,000 damage and displaced 10 people Wednesday afternoon.

The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of 130th Street SW.

The suspect told a detective that she was suicidal and had no hope in her life.

She described cutting the arms and legs off of most of her daughter’s dolls.

“She said that she worried that she wasn’t a good mother and that she couldn’t provide the kind of life she desired for her daughter,” according to court papers.

She also feared being sexually assaulted, used chains and posts to bar her door and placed men’s shoes outside the door to frighten potential prowlers, court papers said.

The woman allegedly told the detective that she knew she was wrong to set the fires, that what she did was arson and that she placed others lives in danger.

She also reportedly told detectives that she wanted to go to jail and be behind bars.

The detective wrote that the woman’s statement caused him to believe she is suicidal and is a danger not only to her self but to others.

The woman did knock on the doors of neighboring apartments to warn them of the fire, according to the police report.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the windows of a second-floor unit in a three-story, 18-unit building.

Firefighters from Snohomish County fire districts 1 and 7, Everett and Mukilteo had the fire under control in about 15 minutes.

“They made a quick attack and kept the fire contained to the second-floor apartment where it started,” said Leslie Hynes, a spokeswoman for fire district 1.

Two other apartments — the units directly above and below the burned unit — had smoke and water damage.

None of the residents had insurance.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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