A Denton woman has been arrested on two counts of arson in connection with the fire at Holiday Lodge and another recent blaze, according to the Denton Fire Department.
Jennifer Spillane, 45, was booked into the Denton City Jail on Monday morning. The Denton Fire Department confirmed Tuesday morning her arrest is connected with the two recent fires. Spillane’s bail was expected to be set Tuesday.
The Holiday Lodge was lost to a fire Thursday. A total of 12 residents were displaced from the motel at 1112 E. University Drive, and the estimated damage to the building is over $250,000, according to the Fire Department.
According to a news release, Spillane also has been connected with a structure fire early Monday morning at 720 W. University Drive, behind Drug Emporium. The exterior of the building was damaged, and the fire had been started with a bale of cardboard, according to the Fire Department. A passerby reported the fire around 2:50 a.m.
The fire at Holiday Lodge was reported around 1:57 p.m. Thursday and was declared a two-alarm fire. Deputy Fire Marshal Jacob Cooper said Thursday at the scene that the building is unlivable now due to damage. No serious injuries were reported.
While the fire was contained to mostly one room, Cooper said the heat, smoke and water affected the whole building.
Asked Tuesday morning about the previous day’s fire at the Denton Sewing Center, a spokesperson for the Fire Department said other charges may be pending.
Around 2:30 a.m. Monday, a passerby reported seeing smoke coming from around the Denton Sewing Center, 1504 Malone St.
The business shuttered its doors as a result of the fire, but co-owner Paul Weigenant said in a phone call Tuesday that they’re gearing up to open in an adjacent building on Wednesday. Weigenant said the address is 1510 W. University Drive, although the storefront says 1512 on the door.
“We have that separate building with a retail area set up and we’re setting up the repair area,” he said.
The new setup will be temporary while he and his wife, co-owner Debbie Weigenant, work on finalizing details with their insurance company in hopes of restoring the building that burned.
Denton fire marshals obtained a warrant for Spillane’s arrest on two counts of arson after conducting interviews and reviewing available evidence, according to the release.
One of the definitions in Texas law for arson is when someone intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion and, in doing so, recklessly damages or destroys a building that belongs to someone else.
Arson is a second-degree felony but can be a first-degree felony if, during the defendant’s trial, it’s determined someone was injured or killed as a result of the arson or if the property damaged or destroyed was a habitation, place of assembly or place of worship.
Denton County Jail records show Spillane has been incarcerated before on charges that date back to 2002, including theft, public intoxication, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. She was most recently in the county jail from early March to mid-April, booked for two charges of criminal trespass.