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Duquesne woman charged with setting house on fire while boyfriend, child inside

| Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, 11:51 a.m.

A woman told police she threatened to burn down her Duquesne home but did not deliberately set a fire during a domestic dispute.

Allegheny County police charged Lynn Kennedy, 31, with causing a catastrophe, drug possession, arson, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment in connection with the fire early on Sunday.

The woman's boyfriend, Nathanial Champion, told police that Kennedy came to the Ross Street home about 2 a.m. and threatened to set it on fire. He called police and she left, only to return 10 minutes later and break through the front window, police said in a criminal complaint.

Other witnesses said Kennedy set garbage and clothing on fire on top of the stove and said, “If I can't live here, no one can,” the complaint said.

Champion said he grabbed his daughter, 2, and got her out of the house when the fire started but couldn't make Kennedy leave, police said. Duquesne police officers said Kennedy fought with them when they tried to handcuff and remove her from the house.

Police said they found what they suspect is marijuana and cocaine when they searched her.

At county police headquarters, Kennedy denied deliberately setting the fire and said it was possible when she was throwing things that something landed on the stove and caught fire, police said. She admitted to threatening to burn the house but told police she owned it and it would be fiscally irresponsible to set a fire.

The fire marshal's office determined the fire, which caused extensive damage, was arson. One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.

Kennedy was being held at the Allegheny County Jail under a $50,000 bond. She has a hearing scheduled for Nov. 19 before District Judge Scott Schricker.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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