Mountain Home house fire that briefly trapped a woman inside is deemed arson

Investigators have determined that someone intentionally started a fire that severely damaged a Mountain Home residence and trapped a disabled woman inside, Mountain Home police said Thursday.

A police officer, investigated a report of a dispute involving residents at the house, was standing outside the home on East Jackson Street Monday evening when someone said smoke was coming from the back of the house and another resident said an older woman was asleep inside and requires a wheelchair, police said. Officer Brian Thomas crawled through the house, which was filled with smoke, and rescued the woman from a back bedroom with the help of Sgt. Russell Griggs, police said.

Police received two calls about the dispute Monday evening, Mountain Home Police Officer Melanie Broughton told the Statesman Thursday. One call came from the house, and Thomas responded to that one. The other came from a nearby Maverik store, where Griggs responded, she said.

The woman and both officers were treated for smoke inhalation and are OK, Broughton said.

Police are investigating the fire as an arson, she said. Mountain Home Assistant Fire Chief Bud Corbus said Wednesday the fire was “definitely suspicious” and started at the base of the basement stairs. Because the fire was detected very quickly after it started, police were able to rescue the woman and firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire, Corbus said.