Police in Elkton, Maryland, have accused a woman of setting her house on fire while someone was still inside and sitting in a deckchair to watch it burn.
Witnesses said Gail Metwally, 47, of Elkton in Cecil County allegedly set “multiple” fires in a home late last month and then sat on a chair on the front lawn and “watched the fire engulf the home”, the Office of the State Fire Marshal said.
As the house was enveloped in flames local residents heard a woman in the basement shouting for help and managed to help her from the blaze through the house’s window, officials said.
Pat Bernal, the sister of 52-year-old Blenda Holbrook who was trapped in the basement, told WMAR that her sibling “almost burned to death in that house.”
She added: “When she was talking to me, she said, “Pat, it burned my hair. It singed my hair, and he lost everything.”
Footage of the fire taken by a bystander and shared online shows a woman sitting in a chair outside the house as it goes up in flames, and reveals the moment a woman escapes from a window.
Warning: the video below contains distressing content and language some people may find offensive
Ms Metwally is now facing multiple arson-related charges, including attempted murder, assault, and malicious burning, authorities said.
The state fire marshall alleged that Ms Metwally walked away from the scene after a few minutes and was later detained in the area.
She was transported to the Maryland State Police North East Barrack and is currently being held at the Cecil County Detention Center ahead of a District Court Commissioner hearing.
Officials said four people lived in the house, including Ms Metwally. Two were not home, while the third was still inside, they said.