Local News

Fire Leads to Neglect Charge

(La Porte, IN) - A house fire in La Porte has resulted in a drug-related arrest.


Kristen Arnett, 37, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with neglect of a dependent.


According to court documents, she was found with track marks on her arms after her home caught fire two weeks ago in the 100 block of Wardner Street. Track marks are often left on the arms from injecting drugs like heroin into the veins.


Authorities said child neglect charges were filed because her 11-year-old daughter was living with her while the mother was using narcotics.


According to court documents, the girl woke up on July 5 to her mother trying to put out the fire.


Arnett told investigators her curtains suddenly went up in flames while lighting a cigarette. She also said the lighter malfunctioned and squirted lighter fluid.


La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said cigarette lighters sometimes malfunction like that, so that may be how the fire started. He said the cause is undetermined right now, though.


“We have not been able to conclusively confirm nor contradict what she indicated,” Snyder said.

Snyder said the fire was contained to the living room because of a quick response by firefighters.


According to court documents, Arnett did not seem aware that much of her hair had been scorched by the flames while talking to investigators. She also exhibited various signs of impairment.


There were no injuries in the fire. 


Arnett could face anywhere from a six-month to 30-month sentence if convicted on the level 6 felony charge. 

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