La Center woman charged with first-degree arson

LA CENTER — Police have arrested a La Center woman on first-degree arson charges after she allegedly set her home on fire.

First responders from Clark County Fire & Rescue, the La Center Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office responded to a house fire at 4517 N.E. 372nd St., in La Center around 9:30 p.m., Tue., Nov. 22.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies learned that the female resident of the home, 50-year-old Cindy Jo Clem, “distraught over a recent break-up,” had called her former boyfriend, said she was setting their house on fire and “made threats to perish in the fire.” The former boyfriend, deputies report, called 9-1-1 to report Clem’s actions.

When first responders arrived on the scene, they found thick smoke coming from the home’s eaves and doorways. Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Cramer breached a door and could hear a woman’s voice coming from inside the house. Firefighters entered the burning home and located Clem, who was lying on a floor. They evacuated her and extinguished the fire.

After being transported via American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for treatment, Clem was charged with Arson in the first degree and booked into the county jail. The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the arson fire.

Arson in the first degree is considered a Class A Felony in Washington State and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine.


About The Author

Kelly Moyer has been reporting for community newspapers since the mid-1990s, including the Newport News-Times on the Oregon Coast; the Lewistown Sentinel, a daily newspaper in central Pennsylvania; the Gresham Outlook, Wilsonville Spokesman, Sherwood Gazette and South County Spotlight newspapers in the Portland metro area; and The Reflector newspaper in Battle Ground, Wash. She also is the former managing editor of Midwifery Today, an international magazine for birth professionals. Kelly, a University of Oregon alumnus and Pennsylvania native, lives with her family in Northeast Portland.

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