A woman intentionally set fire to a Georgetown house in which she died, but the two explosions that followed were likely unplanned, a Georgetown fire investigator said Thursday.
After an autopsy on Thursday, the woman was identified as Susan Dianne Brady, 61, Scott County Coroner John Goble said. She likely died of fire injuries.
Georgetown Fire Department investigator Wes Broderick said in a press conference that the resident of the house at Seminole Trail and Pocahontas Trail intentionally set the fire but how is still under investigation. Firefighters smelled gasoline at the scene, he said.
“We believe that there were several places inside the home where it was set,” Broderick said. “It was actually multiple locations.”
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A dog trained to detect accelerants indicated their presence, but investigators won’t know for sure until sample results come back from Kentucky State Police, Broderick said.
Broderick said no oxygen tanks were found at the fire scene. “I know there was some question whether there was some oxygen or acetylene tanks in the garage, but we did not find anything in the garage,” Broderick said.
“We believe the explosion itself was accidental," Broderick said. "We do believe the fire was intentionally set but we do not believe at this time that she actually intended for the explosion to occur.”
Fire Chief John Ward said he can’t speculate on the reason why the woman wanted to set the home on fire.
Neighbors said the house was in foreclosure or that the resident was terminally ill, but Ward said “we don’t have anything to say that is accurate” as far as a motive.
A final report on the fire won’t be ready for another week or two, Broderick said.
The explosion occurred about 2:25 a.m.. Firefighters arrived at the home at 2:30 a.m. and found it leveled and in flames, which they quickly extinguished, Ward said Wednesday. Debris was littered across the street and neighbors' yards.
Marijean Long said her house behind Brady's was damaged in the explosion, according to the Georgetown News-Graphic. She told the newspaper a review of her security cameras showed there were actually two explosions.
“The first one was small, but it set off vehicle alarms,” she told the News-Graphic. “The second explosion everything went white.”
A dog was found alive down the road by neighbors, LEX 18 reported.
Joseph D. Walter was listed as the owner of the 1,212-square-foot home, according to Scott County property records. Brady also was listed as a secondary party in the ownership record. The three-bedroom, two-bath home was built in 1985 and had a listed value of $124,000.