The 45-year-old Denton woman arrested Monday in connection with two recent fires has now been charged with a third count of arson relating to Monday morning’s fire at the Denton Sewing Center — a business belonging to her parents.
Jennifer Spillane was arrested and booked Monday morning into the Denton City Jail, charged with two counts of arson in connection with Thursday’s fire at the Holiday Lodge motel and another Monday behind Drug Emporium, according to Denton fire marshals.
On Wednesday, according to a news release, Denton fire marshals obtained a third arrest warrant and charged Spillane with an additional count of arson in connection with Monday’s fire at the Denton Sewing Center, at 1504 Malone St.
That fire, the release states, took place early Monday just prior to the fire near Drug Emporium. The fire caused over $500,000 in damage, and the building and its contents are a total loss.
County jail records show each of the first two arson charges carry bail amounts of $25,000, while Spillane awaits a bail hearing for the third charge. Denton Fire Department spokesperson David Boots said that hearing would come later in the day Wednesday or Thursday morning.
Denton Sewing Center has been in business for 35 years and is owned by Paul and Debbie Weigenant, who took ownership from Debbie Weigenant’s parents in 1992. Spillane is the daughter of Debbie Weigenant and stepdaughter of Paul Weigenant, according to state and federal records as well as published reports in the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Paul Weigenant, reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, said he believes the fire could have started at the store’s back door, though a cause has not been confirmed yet by investigators.
“The physical evidence points toward the back door, and there’s still a smell of gasoline,” Weigenant said. “I’m guessing it started at the back door with gas. … They [fire marshals] didn’t want to confirm it.”
Weigenant said the sewing center is now operating out of an adjacent building on Malone Street at the 1510 and 1512 addresses and has begun serving customers.
“That was a pretty quick turnaround, really, considering the fire was Monday,” Weigenant said. “I had a lot of help. A lot of people donated stuff that we needed. It’s been overwhelmingly a lot of gratitude, and I feel really grateful.”
Weigenant said he hopes to reopen the center in the previous building, although the insurance company will have to come out and assess the next steps forward — a process he said likely will involve a bulldozer.
“I would like to reopen by Christmas, but I’m an optimist,” Weigenant said. “It might be next Christmas.”
Both Weigenant and Boots on Wednesday declined to confirm or discuss Spillane’s relationship with the business’s owners.
“If I could say anything about the suspect, we need to pray for her and hope she gets some help,” Weigenant said.