Tanya Smith, 46, of 125 N. Sixth Ave. Paden City, was arrested Aug. 20 on the felony charges of first degree arson and burning insured property. The arrest followed an investigation by the West Virginia Fire Marshal's Office.
On June 21 Smith allegedly set fire to her residence at 622 South Third Ave., Paden City. Paden City Police Chief Mike Kelly confirmed his original assumption that an explosion of oxygen tanks started the blaze, which destroyed the house and caused serious burns to Smith, the only person home at the time of the fire. According to him, the tanks were meant for her husband's medical use and remained there after he passed away more than a year prior.
On the day of her arrest, Smith was released on $20,000 personal recognizance bond and is reportedly in the custody of her uncle in Paden City so that she can continue to receive medical attention for her injuries.
The fire that destroyed this house in Paden City has been deemed an arson.
"Because of her injuries, the prosecutor (Luke Furbee) agreed to let her out on her own personal recognizance," Kelly said.
Chief Kelly reported that, on the evening of the fire, an unknown neighbor put a ladder to the upstairs window and rescued her.
"He actually went in the fire, carried her out and saved her life," he said shortly after the blaze of the still-anonymous neighbor. "He should have some sort of recognition for this. I want to find him and shake his hand."
Smith was then flown by Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter to the burn unit at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa. PCPD handled the initial investigation, traveling to Pittsburgh to interview her. They handed the information they gathered to the West Virginia Fire Marshal's Office, who completed the investigation.
The Paden City Volunteer Fire Company, New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department, and Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire.
Chief Kelly could not confirm Smith's reasons for starting the fire.