Washington Woman Pleads Guilty to Arson in Rented House Fire

October 20, 2014

A 38-year-old Washington woman who told firefighters how she dropped her young son to safety before escaping a house fire herself has admitted setting the fire and making a false insurance claim.

The News Tribune reports that Melinda Sayers pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree arson and the insurance offense in the April 1 fire that destroyed a rented house she shared with her family in Puyallup.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Edmund Murphy sentenced her to nine months in jail. She must also get mental health counseling.

Sayers apologized before she was sentenced.

In response to her story, her family received more than $32,000 in donations. Court records show her insurance company also paid her $5,000 and provided her family with temporary housing.

Investigators determined the family was in financial trouble. Her lawyer, Philip Thornton, said Sayers was under stress in many areas of her life.

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