Woman Sets Home On Fire With Occupant Still Inside
[Maryland] A Elkton woman reportedly snapped setting multiple fires in her home before kicking back in her lawn chair out front, to watch it all burn. She now stands accused of arson and attempted murder. Multiple witnesses reported hearing another woman screaming for help from inside the basement as the home became engulfed in flames.
The Thursday incident occurred less than a mile from the Delaware state line on Cherry Lane, not far from the border intersection of Fletchwood and Elkton roads just west of the University of Delaware.
Fire officials say they were called to the residence Thursday around 1:15 p.m.
Witnesses told investigators that Gail J. Metwally, 47, set multiple fires in the home and then watched from a chair on the front lawn before walking away from the scene, the fire marshal's office said.
According to WMAR, the woman who was inside the house at the time of the fire is 52-year-old Blenda Holbrook. Her sister, Pat Bernal, told the news outlet that someone had thrown a trash can down the stairs, blocking her exit out of the building. "She almost burned to death in that house, and I'm just really thankful she's okay," Bernal said. She added that the fire "burned" and "singed" Holbrook's hair.
One witness, armed with a cellphone, caught the insane site on camera. His dialog was understandably vulgar as he couldn't believe what he was witnessing. A second witnessed, also seen on camera, called 911:
"She just f***ing lit the trash can on fire and dumped it in the f***ing living room," says a voice off-camera. "This is not happening right now," he continues, zooming in on flames flickering through the house's open front door.
He then focuses the camera on a woman who appears to sit in a lawn chair, watching the fire. "I cannot actually believe it. And she's sitting there, just chilling, watching the house go up in flames."
Woman in Maryland sets a house on fire while someone is still inside pic.twitter.com/ocRVni4lc9
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) May 1, 2021
While the house was engulfed, witnesses heard a female in the basement screaming and helped her out of the house.
Deleware online reported that Metwally was found in the area of the home by the Cecil County Sheriff's Office. She was detained and transported to the custody of state police. She is currently being held without bond.
Fire officials said the Cherry Lane home had four residents, including Metwally. Two were not home at the time of the arson.
Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire spoke on the incident, noting that "the 911 caller stated that [the suspect] actually went inside the house, set multiple items, multiple fires inside the house." He added, "She then exited the house and proceeded to sit on a lawn chair where she actually watched the fire spread throughout the house."
Several reports noted that Metwally suffers from mental illness. She rented a room in the home with her boyfriend. Thus far, no explanation or motive has been released.