The Thomson Police Department is assisting the fire department with the possible prosecution of a woman who they allege set fire to her home twice on Saturday.
Thomson-McDuffie firefighters were dispatched Saturday afternoon to a fire in a duplex on Anderson Avenue, near the intersection with Knox Street. Arriving around 5:30 p.m., the firefighters encountered heavy flames coming from both the front and the rear of the home.
“We’ve got witnesses that saw her light the fire and it’s a pretty open and shut case from our side as far as it being a set fire,” said Deputy Fire Chief John Thigpen.
He explained the woman first set a sofa on fire, but a neighbor extinguished that fire. Next, according to Thigpen, she set clothing on fire then locked herself inside the burning home. Eventually she came out as the fire grew larger.
“By then the house was pretty much totally engulfed and bystanders called us,” said Thigpen.
Her home was a total loss, according to Thigpen. The adjacent unit sustained heat and smoke damage as well as water damage from firefighters having to extinguish the fire in a common attic.
“It was damage to property and it also put another family out of their house, so we are going to pursue criminal charges through Thomson PD and then go from there,” Thigpen said.
However, whether police can move forward and prosecute will depend on the woman’s physiological evaluation. Following the fire, McDuffie County EMS transported her to an Augusta hospital for an evaluation.
“We plan to pursue criminal charges. But, if her psych eval says everything was due to a medical issue I don’t know how far you can pursue that,” the deputy chief explained.
Investigators did obtain search warrants to collect evidence from the fire scene.
Thigpen said the Red Cross was called in to assist the neighbors in the adjacent unit that was damaged.