Warrant issued for woman charged in 2018 Minnesota apartment fire that injured one woman

Darlene Williams, 57, of Henning, Tennessee, faces seven counts of arson by negligence, four counts of major misdemeanor of negligent arson and one count of misdemeanor of negligent arson for the fire of December 2018.

Williams did not appear for a Monday May 24 hearing before District Judge Patrick Rohland, who issued an arrest warrant against her.

According to the criminal complaint, a fire victim said she suffered permanent loss of function in her left foot after falling from a second story window to escape the blaze, breaking her ankle.

A total of 11 victims reported damage of approximately $ 100,717 and one more person had to be rescued by a ladder from the Redwood Falls Fire Department.

The apartment complex sustained approximately $ 343,000 in damage.

According to the criminal complaint, Williams, who was renting an apartment in the building at the time, is accused of negligently lighting the fire with a cigarette that set one of the sofa cushions on fire in her apartment.

When officers arrived at the building in the wee hours of the morning of December 18, 2018, they observed flames in a second-floor apartment, later identified as Williams’s. They were caught by smoke when they attempted to access the second floor of the building, then attempted to evacuate everyone from the first floor.

Officers also noticed a man screaming from the apartment adjacent to Williams’ apartment, who said the smoke in the hallway was too bad for him to exit. After breaking through a window screen and climbing out the window, he lost his grip and fell, suffering from a complex fracture to his left ankle.

Williams told law enforcement at the scene she fell asleep and had never heard a smoke detector or observed a fire or smoke. She denied having smoked cigarettes inside her apartment.

After her apartment was inspected by fire investigators, it was determined that if Williams had fallen asleep on the sofa when she said she would have died in the blaze.

Investigators found no indication that the fire was started intentionally.

A witness told law enforcement that before calling 911 that night, she heard a beep and smelled a door on fire. The witness then testified that Williams came out of her apartment and said, “Something is wrong”.

The witness said she opened Williams’ door and saw smoke fill the apartment and that Williams had previously been warned about smoking in the apartment.

About Gene Schafer

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