Woman damages church after setting herself on fire: documents

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman is facing arson charges after investigators said she damaged a building when she lit herself on fire.

According to charging documents, Chandel Kenawell "poured charcoal lighter fluid on herself while close to the building and lit the lighter fluid," causing damage to a southwest Houston church.

When fire crews arrived at the strip center in the 4200 block of S. Kirkwood on March 5, they found the 40-year-old woman with severe burn injuries.

Kenawell allegedly told firefighters she was sleeping when someone set her on fire, but charging documents say a series of surveillance videos tell another story.

According to the charging documents, a convenience store clerk told investigators that a woman had purchased charcoal lighter fluid from his store one hour before the fire.

The owner of the store allegedly told police Kenawell "had mental problems," and that she urinated on the sidewalk in front of the store when she was asked to leave the store several times.

Another surveillance video allegedly shows Kenawell outside the House of Praise Church in the strip center around 11:51 p.m.

That is when documents allege Kenawell lit herself on fire.

Bystanders ran to help the woman, dragging her away from the fire and extinguishing the flames.

She was taken to Memorial Hermann Medical Center in critical condition. We do not know her current condition and a warrant has been issued for Kenawell's arrest.

The strip center owner said the fire caused approximately $2,000 in damage, and wants charges filed against Kenawell for the damage.
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