Del City, OK – A woman was caught by her own security cameras firing a gun into an abandoned house before she used a stick to throw a flaming rag inside it (video below).
"Determining arson, the cause of a fire, it's very difficult for our investigators," Del City Fire Department Chief Brandon Pursell told KFOR.
But what the fire chief meant was that investigations are difficult when there isn’t a video of what actually happened.
"She caught herself on camera setting the fire," the chief told KFOR.
It all began when the fire department received several 911 calls at about 2:45 p.m. on June 10 reporting a single-story house on fire in the 2000-block of Becker Street, FOX News reported.
Firefighters responded to the blaze and reported “a significant fire” coming from the garage of a home that was supposedly vacant.
But next-door-neighbor Annie Durham told KFOR that she’d seen drug addicts coming and going from the home.
They doused the flames from the outside, and then firefighters went inside to look for victims. No one was hurt, FOX News reported.
Investigators noticed that the house next door had security cameras that were pointed directly at the garage that had been on fire, so they asked Durham for her surveillance videos, KFOR reported.
Initially, Durham told them that the cameras weren’t on at the time of the fire.
"They asked her if they could view her surveillance system. She, at first, declined; she said it was turned off. She ended up giving written consent for our investigators to take the recorder; it had a password on it," Chief Pursell said.
The Oklahoma City police were able to crack the code and get to the footage of what happened, KFOR reported.
The video showed Durham carrying a flaming rag on a stick and reaching over her own fence to thrust it into the garage of the home next door, starting the blaze.
It turned out that Durham had been in a running dispute with the owner of the condemned home she set on fire, FOX News reported.
“Regardless of the extent of a conflict, arson is never a solution to resolve a conflict,” Chief Pursell said. “The senseless actions of this person placed the lives of innocent neighbors and responding firefighters at a serious risk.”
Further investigation revealed that some neighbors had heard fireworks going off before the fire started. So fire officials went back farther on the surveillance cameras and figured out what was going on.
"It wasn't fireworks; it was discharge of a hand gun," the fire chief told KFOR.
Durham’s own surveillance video showed that less than two hours before she set the garage on fire, she brought a handgun out into her yard and fired at least two shots into the house.
The video showed Durham walked out into her yard with the gun in her hand, reached over the wooden fence, and fired a shot into the neighbor’s garage through the open door.
Then she stopped and had a few drags on her cigarette before she stuck her gun through a broken slat in the fence and shot another bullet into the building, the video showed.
Initially, Durham was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma City jail on charges of second-degree arson, FOX News reported.
After investigators discovered the shooting video, the district attorney’s office began preparing additional charges against Durham, KFOR reported.
You can see video of the incident below: