Local woman charged with aggravated arson
A Marysville woman could be facing a dozen years in prison for allegedly setting her home on fire with her and her son inside.
Catherine Irene Bolin, 42, of 21 Hillcrest Circle, Marysville, has been indicted by the Union County Grand Jury, charged with one count each of aggravated arson, theft and possessing criminal tools.
“This was a potentially very dangerous situation,” Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips said.
Shortly after 8 a.m., on Monday, Aug. 14, Marysville police and fire divisions responded to a home on Hillcrest Circle. The caller reported that a mobile home was on fire.
The fire was extinguished and Bolin was taken to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Phillips said Bolin was originally not cooperative. Bolin told investigators she was sleeping on the couch in the living room when she woke to the smell of smoke. She said she woke her son and fled the home. She said she believed the fire started in the master bedroom, the result of an overloaded circuit.
While Bolin was being treated, investigators learned from Hillcrest officials that Bolin was told she was being evicted and was to be out of the home that day.
“That was a red flag to investigators,” Phillips said.
They interviewed the woman’s adult son who said he smelled gasoline when he arrived home about 1:30 a.m., but went to bed.
“His life was certainly at risk and he was cooperative with police,” Phillips said.
The man told investigators he was sleeping in the home and woke to his mother, “yelling that the house was on fire.”
The son said that as he was leaving, he saw the fire at the door to the master bedroom, making its way to the living room. He added that even as he was fleeing the home, he smelled gasoline.
An investigator with the Marysville Division of Fire asked for additional help when he learned the family was to be evicted
Investigators determined the fire began at the doorway to the master bedroom and at a second point across the hall from the bedroom.
According to court documents, when Bolin was told the fire was not electrical, she “started to cry and confessed to starting the fire.”
Phillips said that while Bolin was never fully cooperative, she eventually became more helpful.
“Ms. Bolin admitted to using a garden sprayer filled with gasoline to spray gasoline in the back if the house and lighting the fire with a match,” according to court documents. “Ms. Bolin admitted that she wanted to kill herself in the fire, but after the fire was lit, she realized that (her son) was asleep in his room.”
She told investigators where to find the sprayer, which still had gas in it, and the matches.
“In talking with Chief Riley (Marysville Division of Fire Chief Jay Riley), he indicated there was a significant risk to the firefighters,” Phillips said.
The prosecutor said Bolin allegedly left the can of gasoline in the home’s living area.
“If the fire had gotten to the gas can, it would have exploded and would have created a tremendous risk to the firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze as well as potentially to the other homes surrounding it,” Phillips said.
He said that, “while there is always a risk for firefighters when they go into a blaze, but if you are a firefighter, you don’t expect to find gasoline inside the living area of a residence.”
The prosecutor said the criminal tools charge stemmed from the sprayer and the matches.
Phillips said investigators believe “the primary motive for the alleged arson” was Bolin’s alleged theft.
Bolin’s live-in boyfriend was the owner of the trailer. She admitted that he gave her money to pay the lot ret, but she stole the rent money.
Phillips credited investigators from several agencies with putting the case together.
“Marysville police did an excellent job cooperating with the fire department investigating this and getting this solved quickly,” Phillips said.
Bolin is being held in the Tri-County Regional Jail, with bond set at $250,000. She is set to be arraigned Sept. 26.
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