A woman “obsessed” with a Mill Valley home set the house on fire, vandalized the driveway next door, drenched a woman with lighter fluid, got tackled by an off-duty firefighter and ended up in jail on Sunday, a sheriff’s official said.
Nai Feuy Saelor, a 24-year-old Richmond resident, was arrested at a home on Panoramic Highway and booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, arson and vandalism.
The incident occurred at about 9 a.m., when the owner of the home noticed the lights flickering inside, said sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman said. When the homeowner looked outside to see if a power line was down, he saw smoke, went outside and discovered his carport engulfed in flames.
“He alerted his family, a family member called 911, and his son ran outside and extinguished the fire with the garden hose,” Pittman said.
The person suspected of starting the fire had also spray-painted vulgarities and accusations in red paint on the mailboxes and driveway next door. As the suspect began to leave the scene, she was seen by a woman standing outside, Pittman said.
“An altercation ensued, and the suspect, who was in possession of a can of lighter fluid and a lighter, sprayed the other woman from head to toe with lighter fluid,” Pittman said. “From all indications, she was about to ignite her with the lighter when the suspect was tackled by an off-duty fire captain who happened to be driving by.”
The off-duty firefighter was Marin County fire Capt. Graham Groneman, who was honored as a 2013 Marin County Hero for saving two children trapped under a small boat capsized in the surf off Dillon Beach.
“Groneman detained the woman until deputies arrived,” Pittman said.
Christine Holt, who lives next door, was awakened by screaming from the fight around 9 a.m., ran outside and discovered her mailboxes and driveway covered in red paint with accusations including, “MURRDERER [sic] RAPIST.”
The graffiti accusations appeared to be directed at a man who does not live there.
“I’ve lived in this house 28 years and no (man by that name) has ever lived on our property or the property below us, so she has got a mistaken house,” Holt said.
Sheriff’s deputies identified the man and verified that he was safe.
Pittman said there have been several arson reports in the neighborhood over the past four or five days, and in one instance, a jar or flammable liquid was left intentionally left near some dry vegetation.
"The sheriff’s office has had contact with the suspect in April 2014,” Pittman said. “The contact was with regard to the same house she tried to set on fire today. The resident in 2014 answered a knock to find the suspect at the door asking to move into the house.”
At that time, the resident called the sheriff’s department and the woman was taken to a mental health facility for counseling.
“She is obsessed with the house. We’re trying to figure out what this obsession is,” Pittman said. “The other part is that she has a fixation for this fellow ... and we’re trying to determine exactly what that originates from.”
No injuries were reported during the incident.
The estimated property damage from the fire was not available. Pittman said it was confined to a wall about 20 by 15 feet on the side of the carport.
A team of investigators from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and the Marin County Fire Department were on the scene collecting evidence Sunday afternoon.
“The poor thing was deranged,” Holt said. “I feel very badly for her, but thank God nothing worse happened.” ..Source.. by Janis Mara