Woman Allegedly Sets Neighbor's Home on Fire in Attempt to 'Cleanse' It

Pyromania may be in the air in the wake of Sunday's fireworks-laden Fourth of July festivities.

A 37-year-old woman named Sheena Johnson has been arrested and charged with several crimes, including arson, attempted murder, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, for allegedly setting fire to her neighbor's mobile home on Monday night near London, Kentucky. When asked about her reasons for doing so, she allegedly said, "Why not?" before adding that she wanted to "cleanse this place."

Defined by the FBI as "any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.," arson is typically considered a felony, though potential punishments vary between states, according to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute. In 2019, law enforcement agencies recorded 33,395 arson-related offenses, the majority of which involved structures such as homes, according to the FBI.

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The victim, whom WTVQ identified as Donna Proffitt, told authorities she was asleep when the fire began around 7:30 p.m., the outlet reported. She woke up to the smell of smoke and ran outside, only to find Johnson on her property.

Upon arriving at the scene of the alleged crime, Laurel County Sheriff's Office Deputies Brent France and Marcus Stigall saw "heavy smoke" emanating from the mobile home, according to a sheriff's office press release. While conducting a preliminary investigation, they were confronted by Johnson, who emerged from a "nearby residence" and allegedly began "screaming and cursing," creating a "disturbance," the release stated. Telling France she "hadn't done a...thing wrong," she allegedly refused to enter the squad car, according to The Times-Tribune. Following a brief tussle, Johnson was arrested at 8:43 p.m. and transported to the Laurel County Correctional Center. Her arraignment was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, The Times-Tribune reported.

Proffitt's daughter, whom WTVQ identified as Angela Brock, told the deputies Johnson had tried to set fire to another neighbor's home four days earlier. As for Proffitt herself, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to the release.

Earlier this year, 47-year-old Gail Metwally of Elkton, Maryland found herself facing similar charges for allegedly setting her own house on fire while 52-year-old Blenda Holbrook was in the basement. In a video clip shared on Twitter by the account @davenewworld_2, a woman in a baseball cap who is reportedly Metwally watches the blaze from a lawn chair, a book splayed open in her lap. While Holbrook survived, Metwally was accused of attempted murder and several other crimes.

Newsweek reached out to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Johnson allegedly set fire to a residence.
Sheena Johnson allegedly set her neighbor's mobile home on fire on Monday night near London, Kentucky. The victim reported she woke up to the smell of smoke and ran outside, only to find Johnson on her property. Facebook/Laurel County Sheriff's Office