After allegedly intentionally blowing up her rental home, a New Jersey woman and her numerous cats died.
On Wednesday morning at 11:01 a.m., Roosevelt, New Jersey’s first responders received a call regarding smoke coming from Cedar Court. Firefighters quickly arrived to order neighbors to evacuate the area.
Erin Luca, a local resident, said that “they knocked on our doors this morning.” “Thank God it was quite loud. I grabbed [my son]. They ordered us to go. She threatened to bomb the house with a bomb and then ended up setting fire to it.
According to police, the woman was renting the house from her boyfriend. The boyfriend tried to expel her for many years in order for him to the property. The homeowner was prevented from proceeding aggressively by an eviction moratorium that was in place during the COVID shutdown, but he began to expel his girlfriend in earnest after the moratorium was lifted on August 20, 2021.
The woman was not identified by age and her name, but she refused to leave after being served with an eviction notice. The woman then threatened to bomb the house. Investigators suspect that she purposely set fire to the house.
“We are receiving reports that the resident turned the gas on at the residence before it ignited,” stated Lt. Lawrence Peele, New Jersey State Police.
New Jersey 101.5 reported that the body of the woman was discovered in the house shortly after the fire had been extinguished around 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon. At least two firefighters were also injured while trying to control the flames. The woman was also a pet sitter and had created what Mayor Peggy Malkin called a “cathouse” at the home. Investigators confirmed that several animals died in the fire. Several outlets reported that these animals included “dozens” of cats.
Malkin said, “She had countless cats.”
The house and neighbor Emma Quackenbush, who lived there for 22 years, were also completely destroyed. Quackenbush stated that it looked like her house was gone. It’s still standing but is not habitable.
PSE&G, a utility company, began digging near the residence Wednesday afternoon. They continued digging through the night but didn’t disclose the purpose.