Arson Suspected In House Fire That Injured Elderly Woman

A Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department official declined to elaborate on why investigators believe the blaze in the two-story home was deliberately set.

An elderly woman suffered third-degree burns today in a Temecula house fire that investigators determined was deliberately set, a fire department spokeswoman said.

The unidentified woman, who was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, also suffered smoke inhalation in the arson blaze, which was reported at 12:01 a.m., said Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Melody Hendrickson.

Hendrickson declined to elaborate on why investigators believe the fire in the two-story home in the 31900 block of Via Cordoba was deliberately set.

The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in damage, Hendrickson said.

The Republican November 02, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Same thing happened in a Murrieta apartment a few days ago and the woman died. I wonder if they are related?
Brenda November 02, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I don't know The Rep, but this is so insanely horrible and unspeakable. What sick person would do this and maybe twice. Maybe someone who knew it was an elderly person who could not get out of the house ? I dont want to make assumptions but you have to think of who has something to gain. There is only one answer to that. Unless it was to cover up a burglary. Dear God I hope this woman is ok, and pulls through to be able to tell the police anything she knows. But 3rd degree burns on bad on anyone, then add in her age and smoke inhalation and the poor dear is going to have a tough road. God bless her and her family and friends.
Michael November 02, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Hey whats up again Brenda. I didn't smell the smoke but I think I remember hearing the sirens at midnight. I live a few blocks over. Won't say where because of security reasons. But, at school we did a blood drive yesterday (thursday) and someone getting his blood taken told me about it (I thought he was just hallucinating because of getting his blood taken jkjk)
keepn it real November 03, 2012 at 12:28 AM
I have cameras on my house and Dogs alarms .Every one on my street leaves our lights on at night in our front and back yards .and I have a baseball bat in every room of my house.and a camera ready to take photos anytime by my door.you have to stay ready people and pay attenion.have a phone chain they work.
Nancy Benson November 03, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Nancy Benson 6:11 pm on Friday, November 2, 2012 Just read that the woman died. Fire started in kitchen. Saddest part of all police are investigating the incident as a possible suicide. May she be comforted in God's arms. http://www.swrnn.com/2012/11/02/temecula-woman-dies-from-injuries-sustained-in-house-fire-arson-blamed/
Brenda November 03, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Oh that is she might have committed suicide, and she didnt make it. Didnt think so with age and severity of her burns. Very sad story. Now she will never be alone.
Brenda November 03, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Try this again, dang first one wont delete, hehe didnt have my glasses on :P Oh the possiblility is sad she might have committed suicide, and she also didnt make it through. Didnt think she would with her age and severity of her burns. Very sad story, but now she will never be alone.
Brenda November 03, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Hey Michael, glad to see you still here. This is a very sad story. These are the type of things that we need help for our elderly for. If they are sad enough, in pain so much, and maybe consider suicide. We dont know if that is the case here, but it brings up a subject I write many letters on. A system that checks on our elderly, with visits, or phone calls, anything like that. Well that is a different story. Giving blood, oh lordy, something I have never been able to do for one reason or another. When I was younger it could have been cause I had my ears pierced in the last year or some such thing. Then by 40 I got an illness that prevents it with all the medications I have to take. But its a wonderful thing to do if you are able to. I had to have a few pints when I had one of my knees replaced and I said a prayer thanking whoever donated that blood for someone like me. ;)
Karentheworld November 03, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I live on the street behind hers. At midnight we heard what sounded like gunfire. We heard sirens and soon after, power saws. We never smelled smoke. The gunfire sounds must have been the windows blowing out. We suspected the water heater. Whatever caused this tragedy was quick. My heart breaks for this woman and all who loved her.
Don Lambert November 03, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Investigaters could soon tell, but some people do not know how badly pouring water on a pan of burning oil can make an explosion and shoot flaming oil all over the place. It could go all over the person, and hit the ceiling and walls. I had heard for years do not put water on buring oil. But I had no idea how bad it could be until I saw a TV program demonstrating this with several sizes of pans. They set up the water to pour on the pan of burning oil by pulling on a string from a distance.
Don Lambert November 03, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I left out the part of my comment on the demonstration of how explosive it can be to pour water on a pan of burning cooking oil by saying the demonstration for video was done OUTSIDE, and a distance from any buildings.
Don Lambert November 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
The article does not state whether she was found in the kitchen or in a bedroom. Houses in my part of Murrietas have gas ranges in the kitchen. A person can turn on the gas valve to a burner and not turn it far enough to cause the elecrtric spark to ignite the gas either accidently or on purpose. Gas will continue to flow into the room, and could eventually be ignited explosively.
Don Lambert November 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM
The trend in recent years for women over 50 that have intended to commit suicide and left notes is increasing done using overdoses of the prescription drugs of oxycodone (oxycotin) type, and hydrocodone type according to government statistics. Also there are a lot of accidental deaths by persons accidently overdosing on these and other prescription drugs.
Don Lambert November 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I do know how to spell Murrieta and electric. The problem is I am using a small curved keyboard and my fingers are large. In every several words it prints both the letter I intend and one of the letters with a key next to it. Sometimes it even prints three letters where I intend one letter. Examples: "wasq rft ujiok" actually sometimes it does 3 or 4 letters, but often just 2. I do need to get a more suitable larger keyboard.
Brenda November 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Don YOU ARE RIGHT. Happened to us. Daughter left grease burning on stove while she went and did something else, it got too hot, caught fire, threw water on it and up it went. Fire Department was there fast but it went up into the "Flue" (vent") and we ended up with a relatively new kitchen. This could have happened, but went up right into her hair or she fell backwards and could not get up. Many different scenerios :/ I will never forget seeing my kitchen go up with that water on oil, and I had not heard of that, so I might have done it too. You never know how educated you need to be on what happens daily until it explodes in your face. :/ It is an explosion and if you are standing within like 10 feet of a small pan of grease you are going to get the hot oil, the fire, right on you guaranteed. Good point bringing that possibility up Don.
Brenda November 03, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Smart idea, someone needs to manufacture keyboards for people with big fingers.
Nancy Benson November 03, 2012 at 07:00 PM
I live about a block down the street from her. I actually have the same model house. The article in the Californian had much more information. The fire started in the kitchen. She was found in the back room of the house already unconscious. They were trying to resuscitate her as they brought her out of the house. Also, neighbors noted that her car that she spend many weekends washing and waxing was parked on the street, which was never the case. The neighbor on the other side noticed she had jeans on when she was brought out, she usually had her pajamas on by 10:00. Fire started a little after 12 am. On another note the bank had foreclosed on her house in June.
Brenda November 04, 2012 at 10:39 AM
In in fire, alot of people say the windows shattering sound like gun fire. :/
Brenda November 04, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Nancy this is sounding more and more sad. So many have committed suicide during this foreclosure hell and there was/is just no real help out there especially the elderly/semi-retire/retired/suddenly unemployed. Especially if she didnt have any family near she could rely on or was close to for support and help of any kind, financially, emotionally, or both. If she did commit suicide she made a huge statement to alot of people on her way out and may God now give her peace.
Michael November 05, 2012 at 12:42 AM
It is sad she might have commited suicide. Someone from my scout troop/church said he lives like 3 or 4 houses down and he saw the fire, the fire trucks, and everything else that happened. Since we live near by on our way home from somewhere Friday we went down her street and there were two cars in the driveway but you couldn't see any burns. It was on the side of the house but all I saw while driving by was that just a little over the fence was a little black marks so I think that may have been it. Surprised you couldn't see anything else.
Michael November 05, 2012 at 12:46 AM
I am guessing investigators are looking into this but by this information it sounds more and more like suicide. Why would she be up this late in the kitchen wearin jeans. But when you put 2 and 2 together. Her house was getting foreclosed so she decided she would burn it down then escape. So she got on regular clothes put her car in the street for an easy get away. Then set the kitchen on fire tried getting out but she wasn't able to get it out because the smell was choking her and she couldn't breathe. Then that is the end.
Brenda November 05, 2012 at 09:57 AM
It is sad :/ Michael as us older folk get older we know we don't want to be a burden to anyone, especially our kids, and we are stubborn as all get out. Also we are proud as heck too, so put all this together with her foreclosure on her home and it might have been suicide, or just an attempt to burn down the house like you said. We might never know now that she didnt make it. Unless her car was loaded with personal belongings. Course as much as she took care of her car she just might not have wanted it damaged. Like I said us ole folks think about things a bit differently. She could have thought it was one thing to leave her family if she has any. We just don't know, and don't know if there was other factors involved, a late husband, no children, could be alot of scenerios, and it could have just been all an accident also. Sometimes we dont always have our jammies on exactly at 10pm!! Some nights I get a little wild and its not till Midnight!! I just hope she is in the place she wanted to be and is in Gods loving arms, holding her tight, and she is happy now.
Debbie November 09, 2012 at 05:16 AM
She was a wonderful lady and I was privileged to know her and work with her. I am very sad and she will be missed. May god bless her family.
Brenda November 09, 2012 at 07:48 AM
Is the investigation finished? Did they find it was set by her attempting suicide, or accidental, or by someone else? I am very happy to hear she did have some family and friends Debbie to notice she was gone. There was no closure written for this case with the outcome and nothing about any family, and it makes for a very lonely, sad story for this womans life to end so alone.
Temecula resident January 21, 2013 at 10:32 PM
I live down the street from her and have known her for many years. She was a very patriotic woman who loved dogs, life, etc. She had grown sons in the area & Her husband died a while back and after a year or so I quit getting forwarded emails from her, jokes, etc. I thought many times when driving past her house that I should stop by and say Hi. Now hearing this all it makes me think that we all should go out of our way a bit more in life for others and never be 'too busy' to just stop and say Hello. RIP Debbie.
Amy March 05, 2013 at 01:30 AM
I'm her daughter in law and just now reading these comments. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. They have helped us get through this horrific tragedy! My husband was a loving, supportive son and spoke with her every day! This came as a complete shock to all of us who loved her. She had left things for us in the car but we will never know the real reasons that she did this since there was no note. I just hope she is reunited with her husband in Gods loving arms and free of all her worries!


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