Woman accused of setting house on fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
ROCKWELL — A Rockwell woman filled the floor vents of her home with magazines and newsprint and lit her house on fire last Friday morning, authorities say.
Rowan County detectives obtained warrants for 48-year-old Patricia Stewart Humphrey after interviewing her and two others following the fire.
The Rockwell Fire Department and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office responded to Misty Lane about 1 a.m. last Friday. Two deputies arrived on the scene first, a report said.
Humphrey told officers that smoke was coming from the windows of her 150 Delinda Drive home, and deputies said smoke was billowing from the house.
Rockwell firefighters put out the fire, and the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office and Detective Sam Henline investigated the inside of the home.
During the investigation, Henline interviewed two men who were staying at the home and then interviewed Humphrey.
He also listened to the initial 911 call.
The report noted Humphrey “calmly told dispatchers that the house was on fire.”
Henline said there were discrepancies in the statements and what was found, the report said, and at one point Humphrey explained to detectives that she put the newsprint and magazines in her vents to “keep cold air out.”
Henline spoke to the District Attorney’s Office and obtained warrants for Humphrey’s arrest on charges of first-degree arson.
When Henline went to a home on Edgar Road where Humphrey was staying, officers said they found her unconscious and called for Rowan EMS.
The report said Humphrey consumed a variety of unknown pills.
She was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center and will be charged pending her release.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.
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