A 29-year-old Las Vegas woman has been arrested and charged with four counts of arson after a fire Thursday morning that started in an alley behind several businesses in the 1800 block of East Charleston Boulevard and spread to two vacant buildings in the 1800 block of Lewis Avenue, according to the Las Vegas Fire Department.
June A. Wilkinson of Las Vegas has been charged with two counts of first-degree arson and two counts of third-degree arson and is in the Clark County Detention Center.
Authorities said a woman set on fire a couch that was sitting in the alley on Thursday about 11:30 a.m.
The fire quickly spread to a large tree next to the couch, and the burning tree then set the two vacant apartment buildings ablaze. Witnesses saw the woman and chased her before she was apprehended, Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said.
As the woman fled the area, witnesses said, the woman stopped and set a bush on fire and started to run from the area.
She ran right into a Las Vegas police patrol car that was on Eastern Avenue looking for her, Szymanski said.
She was detained by police for fire investigators, and witnesses identified Wilkinson as the person who started the fires.
She was checked out by paramedics before being taken to the detention center after being short of breath, but it was determined her condition was the result of her running. She was checked out and released on scene, Szymanski said.
Several fires have been occurring in that general area over the past two weeks. Witnesses reported seeing a woman leaving the area that fit Wilkinson’s description, and fire investigators are looking into the possibility that she may be connected to several other blazes.
There were no reported injuries, but the fire did significant damage to large television and telephone cables, which will have to be replaced, that ran overhead in the alley.
Firefighters were able to bring the fires under control in less than 10 minutes. Damage was confined to the two buildings and the large tree and was estimated at $50,000.
There were no reported injuries with any of the fires, which, as well as the others, remained under investigation.
Ricardo Torres contributed to this report. Find him on Twitter: @rickytwrites.Contact Wesley Juhl at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter:@WesJuhl.