Crime & Law

Posted: June 19, 2017

Watch: Cellphone video appears to show woman setting deadly house fire

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

MILWAUKEE —

Police arrested a 39-year-old woman Sunday on suspicion of setting a house fire that killed a 72-year-old man after video shot by witnesses appeared to show her throwing gas into a home in Milwaukee and setting it ablaze.

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The 30-second video, obtained by WITI, showed a woman walk up to the home in the 1200 block of W. Wright Street on Friday with what appeared to be a gas can in her hand. She appears to pour gas into the home through a window before setting it on fire and walking away.

Jessie Hinds, Jestopher Hinds and their cousin, Travnota Richmond, told WITI they were nearby when the woman walked up to the home with a hammer and started to smash the house’s windows.

She got a gas can from the house’s garage, Jessie Hinds told the news station.

“She asks us, ‘(Do) one of y’all got a lighter?’” Travonta Richmond told WITI. “And we’re like, ‘No, we can’t help you with a lighter.”

The witnesses told WITI that they tried to kick down the door to help anyone trapped inside the home, which police said is used as a rooming house. 

Firefighters found the home’s first floor engulfed in flames when they responded to the blaze around 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Inside the burning home they found Willie O. Greer, 72.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Police arrested a woman Sunday afternoon in connection with the arson. The case against the woman, who was not identified, will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

A firefighter was injured while fighting the fire Friday. According to the Journal Sentinel, the firefighter was hit in the head by an unknown object and taken to a hospital.

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