Woman charged with arson following Nov. 30 trailer fire in Craig
CRAIG — The cause of a fire that destroyed a home in Cedar Mountain Trailer Park during the early-morning hours of Friday, Nov. 30, has been ruled arson by investigators with the Craig Police Department.
Jessica Kane, 38, was arrested on suspicion of starting the fire in the home of Murray Fenstermacher.
“I started it on accident and then put it in the tub to try and put it out,” Kane said, according to officer Mike Edwards’ statement in the warrantless arrest affidavit.
Edwards was among the first to respond to the fire, which began about 4:30 a.m.
According to Edwards’ statement, Kane said she used a lighter to set fire to a sweater because “I thought there were people in the house, and I didn’t have a phone to call 911.” He also said she was “scared.” Edwards wrote of “prior contact” with Kane “where she claimed there were people who were in places they could not fit and people were there where no such people actually existed.”
At the time, Fenstermacher, according to the affidavit, was not in the home, but another man, identified as Joseph Frates, was asleep in the residence. Two dogs were also inside the dwelling. When the fire alarm failed to awaken him, Frates told Edwards, Kane woke him up by yelling the house was on fire.
“Joseph told me that everyone (including the dogs) had gotten out of the residence, which had quickly become engulfed with flame and filled with smoke,” Edwards wrote in the affidavit.
Firefighters were able to extinguish a blaze on the southern end of a residence, which started in the general area of the tub, matching Kane’s statement.
Firefighters had fully cleared the scene by 8 a.m.
Neighboring homes were also damaged by the heat from the flames, said CPD Police Chief Jerry DeLong. However, to quell social media rumors, Fire Chief KC Hume said in an interview Dec. 10 that the trailer was the only structure to have caught fire recently.
Neither Fenstermacher nor Frates was implicated in the affidavit. Friends of Fenstermacher have set up a GoFundme page to raise money to help him “rebuild his home.”
Kane has been charged with first degree arson — a felony — because the fire was set when another person was in the residence.
Kane is scheduled to appear in court for a review hearing Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
2:10 a.m. On the 400 block of Washington Street, police in Craig responded to an animal complaint. Craig police said a caller reported being bitten by a dog and police continue to investigate.