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Saturday, December 15, 2007

St. Paul / Fire followed eviction notice

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3 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

Woman thought she'd get Red Cross help
BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 12/14/2007 09:45:51 PM CST


A woman about to be evicted from her St. Paul apartment building reportedly started a fire so she could get help from the American Red Cross, according to arson charges filed Thursday against her and her boyfriend.

In the days leading up to the fire, Nicole Lynne Jensen told someone, "Let them try and kick me out. I'll burn the place down," according to a criminal complaint.

The Ramsey County attorney's office charged Jensen, 23, and Jason Ve Stephens, 21, with first-degree arson. Prosecutors charged Andrea Kaalifah Bush, 20, with aiding an offender to avoid arrest and aiding an offender-accomplice after the fact.

"The teamwork and determination between the St. Paul fire and police departments shows how serious we are about arson, especially when someone deliberately sets fire to an occupied apartment building," St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler said in a statement Friday. "Fortunately, the fire alarms sounded and alerted residents, who were all able to escape unharmed but (are now) homeless."

According to the criminal complaints:

About 1:55 p.m. Nov. 25, St. Paul firefighters and police officers responded to a fire at 1067 Van Dyke St. The three-story building had 15 occupied units. Arson investigators determined a fire had been set in apartment 303.

The tenant, identified as Jensen, walked up to the building and said she lived there. Police interviewed her, and she admitted she was upset about being evicted from the apartment and had only a few days before she had to be out.

Jensen and her boyfriend, Stephens, decided to start a fire because they thought they could get help from the Red Cross if they were displaced by a fire, Jensen told police. The pair and Jensen's friend, Bush, looked around the apartment and decided to set a fire using an aerosol can containing some cleaner.

Jensen and Bush left the apartment first and Stephens met them in a park. He told Jensen he started the fire in a pile of clothes.

Jensen said she didn't think the fire would get as big as it did.

More than 40 people were displaced and $200,000 in damage was caused in the fire.

Police found two burned and charred aerosol cans in the apartment.

When police interviewed Bush, she gave a series of false statements about her knowledge of the fire, including denying her presence at the apartment moments before the fire.

Arrest warrants were issued for Jensen and Bush. Stephens was already in custody on a different case.

Mara H. Gottfried covers St. Paul public safety. She can be reached at 651-228-5262 or mgottfried@pioneerpress.com.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob,

This is real and stuff like this happens everyday. I evicted a woman who was six months behind in her rent. I gave her time to get caught up and how was I repaid, my house was trashed. I was called every name in the book. The city was sent out to "get me" all because this woman refused to pay her rent. I lost six months of rent from her and had to fix my place.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on dec 11,2007 at meeting about taxes. I asked the mayor why that
person who set the fire was not arrest yet. And I try to flie a
report with the police about tenant
who desrot my place. He did say anything about it. That him and city council care about low income people than about the taxepayers who pay the bills. That they need to stop building
low income housing. I told the Lee
H.. We do not more low income housing in St.Paul. Spend 4-5 million to do it. Just stop doing
it.

She should get 25 to life in jail.

Leslie K. Lucht

10:51 AM  

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