PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A woman is being accused of committing arson to the leasing office and to a unit of a large Pembroke Park apartment complex in which she resided in.
The suspect, 41-year-old Kerean Marie Kelly, is now under arrest.
Neighbors say Kelly, who is a mother of a young boy, is responsible for both fires that occurred on Tuesday.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and BSO deputies responded just before 9 a.m. to the Pembroke Gardens apartment complex, which includes multiple buildings near the 3700 block of Southwest 52nd Avenue.
A golf cart inside the leasing office was among the items set ablaze. The building was evacuated as the fire was extinguished, authorities said.
Multiple residents say Kelly was behind the fires. Neighbors say they saw her walking from her apartment toward the leasing office with two bags that may have contained incendiary materials.
Police believe her child was with her at the time of the alleged incident.
“Not only was her five-year old child allegedly present, she set fire to the leasing office and to her apartment complex, which was attached to other apartments where people were inside and present,” says Judge Tabitha Blackmon of Broward Circuit Court. “This could have been much worse, including deaths to these other occupants.”
Neighbors and prosecutors believe Kelly’s utilities had been shut off and she was in jeopardy of being forced out.
However, Kelly had no prior criminal record, and a neighbor says she is a good person who snapped under the circumstances.
“I’ve known her for a long time she’s a really good person, but what happens is that you become so fed up and you just snap and that’s what she did,” said David Henderson, who lives next door to Kelly.
Fire investigators and BSO deputies are investigating. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was also notified.
She has now been given a “stay away” order from her residence.