Nebraska Woman Sets Apartment on Fire by Using Butane Torch to Burn Love Letters from Her Ex

A Nebraska woman was cited this week after causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to her apartment while burning letters from an ex-partner, police say.

Ariauna Chantell Lillard, 19, reportedly used a butane torch while attempting to destroy several love notes from a former boyfriend in the bedroom of her third-floor apartment.

According to investigators, the 19-year-old used the torch to burn the letters, and went to take a nap. However, she left some of the notes on her bedroom carpet, apparently unaware that they were smoldering. Lillard woke up a short time later to the sound of her smoke alarm going off.

Lincoln police department confirmed officers and a fire crew responded to an incident at the woman's apartment complex, located near 46th and Meredeth Street, at roughly 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue officials extinguished the fire within minutes, the Associated Press reported.

Still, according to a police report, the blaze caused approximately $4,000 in damage to the apartment. An officer noted that it including a "burned carpet in the bedroom" and destruction caused by smoke.

The woman, who was not injured, was cited for negligent burning.

The Smoking Gun, which first obtained a copy of the police records, reported the flames did not cause any damage to other apartments. Lillard, who is set to appear in court on October 16 in relation to the arson allegation, was alone in the rented residence at the time, it noted.

In Nebraska, penalties for arson are typically based upon the damages caused by the crime, according to the website of Lincoln-based legal defense firm Berry Law.

"It is a Class IV felony if the damages are $1,500 or more; however, the state must prove the amount of damages to property beyond a reasonable doubt for it to be considered a Class IV felony. Third degree arson is considered a Class I misdemeanor if the damages range between $500 and $1,500, and a Class II misdemeanor if the damages are less than $500," it says.

Last month, a Florida man was charged with arson and burglary after allegedly setting fire to a woman's home following a dispute at a bar. The victim, who was not named by police, returned home to find Richard Caldwell, 30, inside her residence holding a bottle of lighter fluid. When police responded to the scene, the Port St. Lucie home was found "fully engulfed in flames."

Letters on fire
File photo: Burned letters. Ariauna Chantell Lillard, 19, reportedly used a butane torch while attempting to destroy several love notes from a former boyfriend in the bedroom of her third-floor apartment. iStock
Nebraska Woman Sets Apartment on Fire by Using Butane Torch to Burn Love Letters from Her Ex | News