A Georgia woman who set fire to her house that she had lost in a divorce ended up spreading it to 19 other houses in the neighborhood, killing a cat a two dogs in the ensuing blaze.
Forty one-year-old Adrienne Satterly has been accused of piling mattresses on the kitchen floor and setting them on fire before leaving her former home for the last time.
According to officials from the city of Hiram, Georgia, she left the home with her two cats and walked to a nearby Walmart before calling 911. Her neighbors were all fast asleep while the blazing inferno spread.
Satterly told the 911 dispatcher that she had a “kitty cat and a suitcase” and asked the dispatcher to send someone to come and pick her up from the department store.
About 30 firefighters rushed to the neighborhood and managed to evacuate all the properties while they desperately tried to save the houses from burning down.
Four homes were destroyed by the time the fire was put out and the flames also caused damage to 16 others. The four families were left with nothing after their homes burned down and the fire caused damages which amounted to more than $1million (£715,000).
According to authorities, dozens of lives were put at risk but no one was seriously hurt. One man reportedly suffered an ankle injury while he was being rescued from his home.
Satterly has been charged with 14 counts of 1st-degree arson and 3 counts of aggravated animal cruelty over the deaths of the cat and 2 dogs. If Satterly is convicted of the crimes, she will face 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 (£36,000).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Satterly called 911 on February 18 at around 3:25 a.m. from a Walmart near her former home. In a recording of the call, Satterly tells the dispatcher that she wanted a car to come and pick her up from the store.
She gave the address of the home which was in Rosemont Court and told the dispatcher that she had been ordered to leave the residence because of a case. She did not mention anything about a fire. It isn’t known what transpired after the call was made.
A report said that Satterly was initially charged with drunkenness before being formally charged with arson and animal cruelty counts.
Yolanda Woodland, Satterly’s neighbor and whose 2 dogs died in the fire, spoke to Fox News about the horrifying moment when she woke up to see her own home in flames.
She said: “The house next door, the whole thing was already engulfed in flames, our living room and kitchen was already on fire. Within two minutes, the house was engulfed in flames. I mean it went really quick.”
Woodland and her daughter, Auzelea Godfrey, have lost everything in the fire and were barely able to make it out themselves and alert the other neighbors. The blaze blew over to the other homes due to strong winds.
Shemiah Hedgebeth, another neighbor, told WSB-TV: “It’s just senseless and it’s sad. And it’s hateful, just hateful.”
Twenty neighbors were displaced, including those whose homes were lost in the fire, and the Red Cross was brought in to help all the victims. Satterly is currently being held at the county jail.
Jay Florence, deputy fire commissioner, said: “This suspect committed a heinous act that threatened the lives of her neighbors and our first responders.”
Glenn Allen, a spokesperson for the Insurance Department, told the West Georgia Neighbor that Satterly was still allegedly living in the house, before she set it on fire, despite losing it in the divorce settlement to her ex-husband. He said: “She was scheduled to leave the home.”