Ellwood City woman charged in apartment building fire

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An Ellwood City woman accused of setting fire to an apartment Monday morning over an alleged drug deal was in the Lawrence County Jail today with bond set at $100,000.

Brandy Mae Rombold, 36, has been charged with eight counts of arson, eight counts of risking a catastrophe, eight counts of reckless endangerment, and three counts of criminal mischief, according to Ellwood City police Lt. David Kingston.

The fire occurred at a Walnut Ridge public housing complex apartment at 432 Loop St., around 10:28 a.m., according to Lt. Kingston.

Of the six units in the complex, three were gutted by the blaze and two had smoke and water damage, according to Ellwood City fire chief Rick Myers. One fireman suffered from minor injuries, Chief Myers said, but no residents were injured.

The Red Cross is helping those whose homes were damaged in the fire, Lt. Kingston said. Attempts to reach a spokesperson with the Red Cross were unsuccessful this morning.

According to a police report, one witness told police she saw a woman ignite something and throw the object onto the apartment's front porch; another told police he saw Ms. Rombold on the porch.

The apartment resident told police that Ms. Rombold had come to her apartment early Sunday morning because she wanted the resident to buy drugs for her. According to the lieutenant, the resident took $20 from Ms. Rombold, who never got her money back.

Police found Ms. Rombold Monday near her residence on the corner of Seventh Street and Park Avenue, where she agreed to go to the Ellwood City police station for an interview, a police report said. During the interview, a small cigarette lighter was found in her front shirt pocket.

Ms. Rombold is set to appear in court May 6.

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