Arson report: Man told woman to leave, ‘dog was there first’

FERNWOOD, Miss. (AP) — An argument about a dog apparently prompted a Mississippi woman to set fire to her boyfriend’s clothes, starting a blaze that destroyed his house, authorities said.

Lawanzie Devall, 47, of Columbia remained in jail Wednesday, with bond set at $5,000 on an arson charge, Pike County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Greg Martin said.

Homeowner Robert Johns told investigators Devall woke him Monday “cursing him out about his dog,” Martin said in a news release.

“Johns said he told her that his dog was there first and she could leave,” Martin continued.

He wrote that Johns told investigators Devall started packing her clothes, telling him, as she left, that she would “take care of” him.

“Johns said the next thing he noticed was the house was on fire,” Martin wrote.

Johns escaped without injury, The Enterprise Journal (http://bit.ly/2agaQzR) reported.

The fire was reported at 2:15 p.m. Monday in the community of Fernwood.

Pike County Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan said he responded to the call with the Fernwood Volunteer Fire Department.

“It was fully engulfed. It was a total loss,” he said. “They went around 3:30 and were there until 7.”

Martin said he did not know whether Devall has an attorney who could comment.

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