Woman Arrested Under Suspicion Of Starting Fire Near Ephrata
A 25-year-old woman faces second-degree reckless burning charges after being arrested for lighting a sofa on fire near Ephrata.
Grant County Sheriff's Deputies say witnesses saw Nicole Shenefelt light an old couch on fire in an open field of dry grass and walk away, which led to a fire that spread across 15 acres.
Sheriff's spokesperson Kyle Foreman says the woman was well aware that her action would cause a fire.
"Clearly by her actions it showed she was intentionally lighting the fire," said Foreman. "And because of the temperature outside, and the fact that she was in a field full of sage brush and dry grass, it was evident that she intentionally lit the fire and knew what the consequence was."
The fire threatened the nearby Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park, 17993 Road A-Northwest, along SR 28 near Ephrata.
Grant County Fire District 13 was called to the scene and was assisted by Grant County Fire District #7 and Your Ephrata Firefighters in putting out the fire.
Firefighters say the active fire was contained on both flanks while natural barriers slowed the head of the fire.
Foreman said the woman could still face stiffer charges such as arson.
"The deputies lodged her into jail for reckless burning," Foreman said. "So, they at least have her on that charge. There may be a change in charges, but right now we know we have her at least for reckless burning."
A social media posting by Grant County Fire District 13 said the incident was another reminder that fires start easily and spread rapidly in vegetation prominent in Grant County.