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Firefighters say woman set 5 fires in Charleston Sunday

Burned electrical wiring under Washington Street underpass
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:12 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - “OK, so we had five fires yesterday,” said Charleston Fire Marshal Lt. Justin Alford who said Christina Smith set five fires in Charleston’s Elk City Sunday -- all in just over an hour.

“There was one that was trash around some grass on Watson Railroad. Behind Robert’s Running was a dumpster on fire; it actually melted the top off. There was one by Family Dollar and the trash underneath the Washington Street overpass,” Alford said.

Just before 11 a.m. Sunday is when Alford said Smith began setting the fires. Police said she set the fire underneath the Washington Street overpass with a lighter and an aerosol can.

Investigators say she set the last fire underneath the Washington Street overpass, lighting up electrical wiring underneath.

“The DOH actually said that the electrical wires could have energized the whole bridge and electrocuted people, so fortunately that did not occur,” Alford said.

The fire spread underneath the bridge, with smoke coming out, causing all the electrical wiring to melt.

Charleston Police found and arrested Smith soon afterward.

“We arrested her for destruction of property and we will probably further up charges with arson,” Alford said.

Police say the damages under the bridge will cost the Division of Highways as much as $5,000.

“I believe she made a statement to PD she was not being fed well enough,” Alford said.

Alford explained the fires were relatively small, but they tied up time, trucks and resources.

Charleston Fire investigators request anyone with video of the fires to send it to them.

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