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Police: Elderly woman set fire to northeast valley home over cigarette dispute

Police accused an 87-year-old woman of intentionally setting a northeast valley home on fire last week.

Betty Lurenz was arrested on March 18 after police and fire crews responded around 4 p.m. to 6125 Judson Ave., near Lake Mead Boulevard and Nellis Boulevard.

The Clark County Fire Department rescued two elderly women from the home. Both were taken to University Medical Center after suffering minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Lurenz was charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of arson.

Lurenz’s attorney, Kendall Stone, declined to comment.

According to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report, surveillance video showed Lurenz, a resident of the home, setting the living room on fire in two places with a lit piece of paper before going outside.

The home was operated by LNO’s Independent Living, a company that assists elderly people with housing, according to the report.

Lurenz claimed another resident flicked a cigarette at her which landed on a couch. When confronted with video evidence, Lurenz confirmed she was the person in the video. She said she was upset because a fellow resident did not give her a cigarette.

“Betty stated that when she doesn’t have cigarettes she can go ‘crazy’,” the report read.

When police asked Lurenz if she had any questions, according to the report, she asked if someone could go buy her a pack of cigarettes.

Lurenz remained in custody without bail and is due in court on April 4.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com.

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