A Fridley woman has been charged with first-degree arson for allegedly starting a fire in the kitchen of her home.
According to the criminal complaint, Angela Marie Williams, 41, told Fridley Fire Chief John Berg that “demons told her they were going to start a fire today and then started a fire in the kitchen” at her home on the 6500 block of Monroe Street NE in Fridley.
At approximately 8:39 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, the Fridley Police and Fire departments were dispatched to the residence regarding a fire.
Upon arrival, Berg spoke with the defendant, Williams, who stated the electrical outlet to the right of the kitchen sink began to spark and caused the fire.
At the request of Berg, Deputy State Fire Marshall John Steinbech responded to the scene and determined the fire was intentional, ruling it an arson. According to Marshall Steinbech, the fire started in a plant box located on the kitchen counter to the right of the kitchen sink.
The planter was almost completely destroyed by the fire. The light switch cover located on the wall above the planter was melted and the electrical outlet cover located to the right of the sink was melted on the left side. Marshall Steinbech removed the light switch and outlet from the wall and determined both wirings were normal and not the source of the fire.
According to the complaint, during a post-Miranda statement, Williams stated while making breakfast for her two children, she “heard a demon say they were going to start a fire that morning.”
Williams said she packed a bag of medications and other items and left the residence with her two children, ages 14 and 12, and dog. She stated as she was smoking a cigarette on the steps and the children were playing in the driveway, one of her children pointed out the fire in the kitchen.
“The defendant maintained the demons started the fire, not her,” the complaint stated.
The two children were also interviewed. The 14-year-old stated Williams heard a demon voice say they were going to start a fire today and that Williams then packed some items to leave the residence.
She, her 12-year-old brother and their dog went outside and Williams stayed inside the residence for some time, according to the complaint. The 14-year-old stated she noticed the fire after Williams was outside.
The 12-year-old said he and his sister went outside with their dog and that the Williams stayed inside the house for some time.
While in custody, Williams asked to amend her earlier statement. According to the defendant, she remembered she has a habit of walking around the house and sparking her lighter.
Williams said she sparks the lighter, briefly causing a flame for a moment then turns off the flame, according to the complaint. The defendant said she remembered doing this as she was walking through her living room, her son’s room and the kitchen.
Williams again stated she did not start the fire in the planter but maybe a spark from her lighter did.
The penalty for felony first degree arson is up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $6,000 to $20,000.
The defendant first appeared in 10th Judicial District Court in Anoka County Friday, May 17, where Williams was released on her own recognizance. Her next court appearance is scheduled for June 12.
Contact Elizabeth Sias at firstname.lastname@example.org