Anchorage grand jury indicts woman in March apartment fire

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage woman was indicted on charges she intentionally set fire to her apartment.

Following her indictment Thursday, Paula S. Helm, 45, faces one count of first-degree arson for a March fire at the 24-apartment complex.

Fire investigators said that on March 25 there were two fires in Helm's bathroom and one in a closet, an indication that they were set intentionally, according to an affidavit accompanying the indictment.

At the time, Helm told investigators she turned on propane gas and was in the bathtub trying to kill herself. She said she didn't remember setting fires in the bathroom and the closet, according to the affidavit.

Helm, who suffered smoke inhalation and a burn to her foot, left the apartment, according to the affidavit. She was the only one there at the time of the fire.

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