A St. Paul woman set a shed near the Reach Inc. building on fire, police said, because she was angry her travel companion took money from her purse.
The companion told police he believed the woman also set a nearby garage on fire because she was jealous of him talking to another woman.
The shed fire spread to and destroyed the nearby Reach Inc. building on Eau Claire’s west side. Reach Inc. provides a variety of services to people with disabilities.
Brandy K. Harrington, 27, was charged Monday in Eau Claire County Court with three felonies: two counts of arson of a building and one count of possession of methamphetamine.
Harrington’s travel companion, David G. London, 29, also of St. Paul, is charged with methamphetamine possession and a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer.
Judge Paul Lenz set a $10,000 cash bail for Harrington, who returns to court Oct. 8 for a preliminary hearing. As conditions of bail, Harrington cannot possess fire-making materials or have contact with London.
A $4,000 cash bail was set for London, who also returns to court Oct. 8 for a preliminary hearing.
According to the criminal complaint:
The shed fire at Reach Inc., 2125 Third St., was reported at 3 a.m. Friday. The garage fire at 1827 Whipple St. was reported 3 1/2 hours later.
London told police he and Harrington came to Eau Claire to visit her father and her incarcerated husband. Her father kicked them out because they stole a cellphone. London then got permission for the couple to sleep on a couch outside a residence on Bellinger Street.
Early Friday morning London and Harrington went to Kessler Park and then to the Reach Inc. shed because they were cold. London and Harrington smoked meth in the shed, which contained gas cans and charcoal lighter fluid.
After Harrington passed out, London took money from her purse to pay for a cab to transport the couple. London came back to get Harrington after finding a cab. However, the driver kicked them out of the cab because they were arguing.
Harrington became angry because she realized London took money from her purse. She walked to a convenience store while Harrington headed in the other direction. Harrington subsequently met London at the store and told him she lit the shed on fire.
Harrington left London a second time when London stopped on Platt Street to talk to another woman.
London noticed the fire on Whipple Street when he returned to the Bellinger Street residence where he and Harrington were staying.
When authorities spoke with Harrington on Friday, they noticed her shoes smelled like lighter fluid. Harrington’s father told police Harrington called him Friday morning and said she lit a building on fire, burning herself in the process.
Police found methamphetamine in Harrington’s purse and a meth pipe in London’s pocket. London attempted to flee police when they found the meth pipe.
If convicted of both arson charges, Harrington could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.