Marysville News

Investigators say fatal house fire ruled arson

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Investigators have determined that arson was the cause of a Jan. 17 fatal house fire, and the woman who died in the fire was responsible.

The Marysville Division of Fire and the Marysville Division of Police investigated the blaze and released their findings Tuesday, Feb. 18: "Investigators have concluded that Ms. Jennifer Pummell intentionally set the fire in the living room that eventually spread throughout the house."

Pummell, who used her maiden name of Jennifer Fuller, died Jan. 27 at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She was 38.

She called 911 shortly after 1 p.m. Jan. 17 and said she was trapped in the back of her house, 712 W. Fifth St.

Lt. Keith Watson of the Marysville Division of Fire said suicide was Pummell's motive. Watson said it appears Pummell used an open flame of some type to ignite the fire.

"We are unsure if it was a lighter, match or similar open-flame device," he said.

Watson said it is uncertain how long Pummell allowed the fire to burn before calling 911, but according to witness statements, photographs and cellphone records it appears to have been about two minutes.

Firefighters found her unconscious. She was taken to Memorial Hospital of Union County, then transferred to Ohio State.

For the next 10 days, she battled the effects of smoke inhalation as well as pneumonia and an infection in her bloodstream, according to her older daughter, Avila Anderson, 20, who did not live at the house. Anderson's 19-year-old brother and 12-year-old sister did reside there, but were not home at the time of the fire.

Anderson previously said her brother was staying with their father and she was caring for her sister. She said her mother was her best friend.

"I want people to know her for the person she was; the person that would do anything and everything to help someone and always put others ahead of herself," Anderson wrote this week when contacted by the Marysville News.

It took firefighters about an hour to contain the fire. The two-story house was destroyed.

An autopsy was performed by the Franklin County Coroner's Office, but the report is not yet complete.

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