'Jilted lover' blamed for setting apartment on fire over jealousy


Some describe the suspect as a jilted lover, and police say it appears she's responsible for a number of people now being homeless.

The fire broke out after 3am Wednesday at the Gulf Breeze apartment complex off Main near the Gulf Freeway. It took less than 10 minutes for the flames to ravage eight apartment units. As residents raced out of their homes, they saw a couple arguing.

"It was a man and lady arguing," said resident Breanna Smith. "She said she set the whole apartment on fire and she ran."

Resident Thaddeus Williams said, "I lost everything. If you were to lose everything, you would be upset, too."

Police say Williams was arguing with his girlfriend, who is the suspected arsonist. The woman is accused of setting his bed on fire and letting the complex burn. Police believe her motive may have been jealousy. Williams spent Tuesday not with his girlfriend, but with his wife, Lakita Williams.

Lakita said, "It's obvious it's her. And then you start it at his house, c'mon."

La Marque arson investigator Captain Al Decker said, "We have seen people saying she was carrying the evidence around, the evidence that we have collected, people have seen her up on his balcony at the approximate time when the fire started."

As arson investigators poked through the rubble and American Red Cross volunteers tried to find alternate housing for the dozens displaced, neighbors said they weren't surprised to find their homes burned to the ground.

"They go as far as breaking out the windows," one resident said. "The other maintenance guy had to keep changing their locks, he had to hide his car in the storage. It's been going on for a long time."

"She is well known. People have seen her on the property," Captain Decker said. "She lives on the property and there are other situations that we can't discuss at this time that we're building this case with."

No one was injured in the fire. Police are not releasing the woman's name yet, and she is not in custody, but authorities say they believe they know where she is. She is expected to face multiple charges.

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