New Times' exclusive interview with the Preserves arsonist generates passionate response

The article is shocking people, so unfortunately when this is said and done these arsonists will still look like heroes because they did something so risky.

I want to give you the side of a burn victim, from an arson, who sustained first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree burns and is lucky to be alive. Please bear with me, I want the other side to be heard and I want this to stop before someone does get injured.

We were lying in bed one night and heard a crash, waking to being engulfed in fire. My one child ran out of the room screaming, my husband picked up the other child who was still sleeping and threw him into the hallway to safety.

This is one of the pieces of mail that arrived at New Times in response to the interview.
This is one of the pieces of mail that arrived at New Times in response to the interview.

For whatever reason, I tripped and fell (I honestly don't remember, it happened so fast) but lay there on the floor with my eyes closed, feeling the heat from the fire engulfing my body, lying there praying that the person, if they were still there, would stop and not throw anymore. I can't describe how hot the heat from the flame actually was against my skin. I can only say I do not want anyone else to ever have to feel it. I later asked my husband what he saw when he came back into the room and saw me lying on the floor; he said the flames on my body were blue.

My husband put the flames out on my body, helped me to my feet and ran back outside. I remember running (the adrenaline was working) outside and just screaming as loud as I could to try to get help, but the smoke had gotten into my lungs and I didn't think anyone had heard me. Someone did and called 911.

I gathered my children close back to me and my husband came back to the house and asked if I was okay. I said no I was on fire. I yelled at him to get my purse (it had my insurance card). He ran in the house, got my purse and came back out and said he couldn't get his set of keys to my car. I held up mine that were in my hand. We loaded the children into the car and he drove like a madman to get me to the hospital. I remember just as we turned the corner, I saw an ambulance. We never stopped.

After that I closed my eyes and just continued to scream. The pain was the worst I have ever experienced. He ran I think three red lights that night, tried to flash down the police to no avail, missed the exit for the hospital, but he got me there. He ran inside to get help, but it hurt so bad and I couldn't stand sitting in the car so I tried to walk into the hospital. I was screaming, he was screaming, my babies were screaming and crying. I made it just to the door so they could see me screaming and crying and then they whisked me to a trauma room in the wheelchair while I continued to scream and cry and my precious babies terrified and half asleep stood there watching this all take place.

The nurses asked them to leave while a flurry of doctors and other hospital personnel came in to see what had happened. They kept asking me what I needed. I remember screaming, "PRAY, PRAY, PRAY . . ."

After my family was ushered out, I did not see my family for a month. They finally contacted my pastor, who is like a father to me, and I remember hearing his voice, opening my eyes for a second, him saying "I am here" and closing my eyes. After that, it gets real fuzzy for a while. I later found out they transported me to the burn center with a police escort and had me listed under an alias.

I remember going in and out for a long time, the pain (the pain never stopped), the throwing up from the medication being so strong, the nurses having to redo my IVs all of the time because my veins would rupture, the pain and screaming when they removed the dead skin with something that looked like a hand-held cheese slicer with a handle that looked like an ancient razor blade (heavy metal), the surgeries, the crying, not wanting to sleep for not knowing if I was going to wake up again and not wanting to leave my children motherless, the questions trying to catch the arsonists. These are things that are so fresh and vivid in my mind that it still hurts.

I am not a woman scorned, I am a mother whose children's lives have been endangered and threatened by stupidity.

I am still trying to recover. My physical body is healing very well. I still have one surgery to undergo, I now have arthritis, ugly scars, but all of my body parts are intact (at one time they thought they would have to amputate).

The arsonists in my case have been caught and are currently in prison, and I am in the process of trying to get some legislation going to help law enforcement catch arsonists.

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