Charges of arson against Pierz woman dismissed
Brenda Fay Smith, 43, Pierz, had one count of felony first degree arson dismissed Aug. 10, due to the state not being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was responsible for the crime.
On Aug. 24, 2010, the Pierz Fire Department responded to a fire at the Smith residence. The blaze was extinguished and the structure was saved.
It was later determined the source of the fire was in the basement and that a butane torch had been left on. It also appeared that an accelerant had caused the fire to spread.
Suspecting arson, the fire department called in the state fire marshal and after a full investigation, it was concluded the cause was arson. It was also determined there were four different ignition locations in the basement.
In a statement from another resident of the home, it was learned all the doors and windows were locked and he had no idea who could have gotten inside or who would have wanted to commit arson.
The codefendant admitted he and Smith used drugs, were behind on the mortgage payments and the home was being foreclosed on.
Smith was also present during the interview, but refused to give a statement to law enforcement.
On Sept. 1, 2010, it was learned the codefendant had spoken to his insurance agent the day before the fire and inquired about his insurance coverage.