Henrietta Woman Arrested On Arson Charge

Helen Bessie Barger
Helen Bessie Barger
Connie Milner
Connie Milner

A Clay County woman is behind bars, accused of setting her home on fire.  This is just one in a string of fires in which she was a suspect.

Today deputies arrested 59-year-old Helen Bessie Barger on an arson charge.  Sheriff Kenny Lemons says this woman has seen more than her share of house fires.

Newschannel 6 was there as the Henrietta Volunteer Fire Department got a call just after 8:00 this morning.

"We responded this morning on a mobile home fire on Angelina.  We got there, the east room was completely engulfed," said Fire Chief Mike Roberts.

Roberts says firefighters put out the blaze rather quickly, but the home was still a complete loss with damages up to $15,000.

"Five minutes we responded, we were there, and five minutes had the fire out.  We went through the window first and then sent two guys in after that in through the house," he said.

None of the three residents were hurt.  After the fire was out, investigators from the Sheriff's office started their work searching for the cause.  Sheriff Lemons says some of the evidence in the fire was suspicious.

"When you rule out all the accidental means, then the only thing you're left with is intentional means," he said.

He says Barger, one of the residents of the home, has a long line of fires in her history -- every home she's lived in during the last ten years has burned down.

"Most people, if they ever suffer a fire in their home, it's not very often that happens, but it's certainly quite unusual for a person to have seven to nine fires in their lifetime," he said.

This was also the second fire at this particular home.  While there are many motives for arson, Sheriff Lemons says this case was a little out of the ordinary.

"Money has nothing to do with this fire.  It's some psychological reasons and we were able to determine that today," he said.

Clay County officials also say Barger has been suspected in several other arsons over the past 10 or 12 years.  She's in the Clay County Jail tonight with bond set at $10,000.

This is the second woman arrested for arson in Clay County in the past two months.  In the first case, 39-year-old Connie Milner faced charges in connection to the arson of a home in Bellevue.  Officials say the cases are not related.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6.