Washougal woman pleads guilty to 2011 arson

She set fire to home while facing divorce, foreclosure

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 13, 2012, 6:03 PM

 

A Washougal woman who set her house ablaze while facing a pending divorce and foreclosure in 2011 pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree arson.

Billinda Jantzer, 51, will be sentenced Sept. 11. Jantzer, who has no criminal history, faces a standard sentencing range of three to nine months in jail.

Jantzer allegedly planned to torch the house Jan. 12, 2011, while she stayed inside, according to court documents.

Her grown son, concerned over a grim text message that she sent him just before the fire, rushed to the house and rescued her.

Firefighters were called to the fire at the home at 530 S.E. Blair Road. A large plume of smoke was reported as the call came in, and firefighters arrived to find the rear of the home engulfed in flames. The house was eventually destroyed.

Fire investigators zeroed in on Jantzer after neighbors reported seeing her and her son driving away as the house went up in flames, according to court documents.

In an interview with investigators, Jantzer said she had used gasoline to set the fire in the living room, according to court documents. She said she was upset about her looming divorce and foreclosure of the house.

No one was hurt.

The home was owned by Jantzer and her husband, and the property was assessed at about $355,000, according to county property records.

Jantzer has a hearing Aug. 22 regarding her divorce proceedings, which are pending.

Jantzer is on supervised release until her case is resolved.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts;www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker;laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.