Woman indicted for arson in Dayton fire; Crews rescue cats, dog

A woman indicted Monday for arson is accused of setting multiple fires inside a Dayton house earlier this month where crews rescued a dog, cat and two kittens.

Josie Leora Rector, 43, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court for two counts of aggravated arson.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

The Dayton Fire Department encountered heavy flames during the house fire on the afternoon of May 6 in the 100 block of Mound Street. Crews rescued a dog, two cats and two kittens but one of the cats did not survive.

“One of our medic crews has been giving oxygen to the cats since the crews pulled them out from the beginning,” Dayton Fire District Chief Chris Kinzler said at the scene.

When crews first responded, neighbors said they feared that Rector might still be inside, according to an affidavit filed in Dayton Municipal Court.

“Fire crews made an intense search for the resident while the fire was still burning intensely,” read an affidavit. “While searching for Josie, the stairs to the second floor collapsed creating significant dangers to the firefighters completing searches and fire extinguishment.”

Rector was not found inside the house but later that evening she went to the Dayton Police Department and told an officer and fire investigator that she intentionally set the house where she lived on fire, according to court documents.

“Rector told officer (Brian) Spencer that she stole gas from her neighbor and poured it on the walls and down the stairs to set the fire, which was consistent with the fire investigators’ ruling,” the affidavit read.

Fire investigators noted multiple fires were set inside the house as well as fire patterns that were consistent with the use of an ignitable liquid accelerant, according to court documents. The fire was determined to be set intentionally and ruled an aggravated arson.

Rector remains in the Montgomery County Jail, where she has been held since her May 6 arrest by Dayton police.

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