Austin Local News
Austin Woman Arrested on Arson Charge
An anonymous phone call to the Texas Arson Hotline has led to the arrest of an Austin woman who intentionally set fire to her apartment in order to receive an insurance payment. 23 year old Ashlee King was jailed on charges of arson of a habitation, a first-degree felony. King allegedly used a candle to burn the electrical cord of a fan, which set off sparks setting fire to a mattress. The apartment was located at 7201 Hart Lane in north Austin. Austin firefighters responded to the fire which occurred back on Nov. 16, 2010. The fire and smoke damage was minor, but King claimed a number of personal property items that resulted in her receiving $10,000 in insurance proceeds. According to the informant who contacted the Texas Arson Hotline, King bragged about setting the fire and how she was able to deceive both fire investigators and her insurance company. Her alleged statements led to the call to the Texas Arson Hotline in late May and her subsequent arrest. When Austin fire investigators questioned King, she denied that she ever had a fire and then eventually blamed her mother who is behind bars on unrelated charges. Investigators say King’s name was on the insurance policy, the apartment and on the check she received from her insurance company. King has since been released on $15,000 bond. She faces from 5 to 99 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. The insurance company may also seek restitution.
Persons who place phone calls to the Texas Arson Hotline can be rewarded for up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest or conviction. A Texas Advisory Council on Arson (ATAC) mans the state arson hotline that anonymous callers can contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report suspected arsonists. The arson hotline phone number is 1-877– 4 FIRE 45.