Pinellas Park woman charged with arson after couch fire damages - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas Park woman charged with arson after couch fire damages apartments

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Firefighters put out a fire at an apartment Monday morning Firefighters put out a fire at an apartment Monday morning
A woman set a couch on fire in an apartment A woman set a couch on fire in an apartment
Barbie Ann Winstead was arrested Barbie Ann Winstead was arrested
HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Investigators say a Pinellas Park woman set a couch on fire, sparking a massive blaze that damaged four apartments.

Bright emergency lights pierced through the early morning darkness along 40th Street N. in Pinellas Park Monday.

Ten crews from throughout the area rushed to the scene of the fire that started inside apartment C at a small complex.

911 dispatchers say that at around 1:51 Monday morning they received a call that 44-year-old Barbie Ann Winstead was vandalizing her boyfriend's apartment.

Officers were sent to the apartment.

"They noticed the house had been torn up. They tried speaking to her for a little bit, and then discovered the house was on fire," said Pinellas Park Police Sgt. Taichiang Ku.

Investigators think that Winstead set a couch on fire. The blaze spread quickly.

Winstead was detained and officers tried to put out the fire and realized they needed to get people out of harm's way.

"Shortly after 2 o'clock my wife came and woke me up and said somebody said something about getting out of the apartment," said Michael Beheler, lives just down the road. Beheler's home was o.k., but the same could not be said for his neighbors.

"I looked back over in this area over here and I saw smoke rising, and flames through the windows is what my wife saw," said Beheler.

It took crews 18 minutes to put out the blaze.

The fire left some of the apartments uninhabitable. Seven adults and a cat were placed under the care of the Red Cross.

Winstead was arrested on a prior active warrant and is now charged with arson.  At this time, police say they do not have a motive.

Winstead has been previously charged with domestic battery and battery on a law enforcement officer.

No one was injured in the fire.

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