A Cecil County woman is facing several charges, including attempted murder after investigators said she set her home on fire and then sat in a chair and watched it burn. Gail J. Metwally, 47, was recently released after being treated for mental health issues shortly before the incident. The victim’s sister, Pat Bernal, says that her sister wanted to throw Metwally out previously because of behavior problems but was not legally able to because of COVID restrictions.
Metwally and her boyfriend reportedly rented a room in the home from 52-year-old Blenda Holbrook who was trapped in the basement during the fire. Bernal told the news outlet that Metwally had thrown a trash can down the stairs, blocking her exit out of the building. “She almost burned to death in that house, and I’m just really thankful she’s okay,” Bernal said. She added that the fire “burned” and “singed” Holbrook’s hair.
A witness caught the crime on cellphone footage. The Video shows Metwally throwing a flaming trashcan through the front door before grabbing a lawn chair to sit down and watch it all burn. Metwally was gone before first responders arrived.
Deleware online reported that Metwally was found in the area of the home by the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office. She was detained and transported to the custody of state police. She is currently being held without bond.
Fire officials said the Cherry Lane home had four residents, including Metwally. Two were not home at the time of the arson.
Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire spoke on the incident, noting that “the 911 caller stated that [the suspect] actually went inside the house, set multiple items, multiple fires inside the house.” He added, “She then exited the house and proceeded to sit on a lawn chair where she actually watched the fire spread throughout the house.”
One witness, armed with a cellphone, caught the insane site on camera. His dialog was understandably vulgar as he couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. A second witnessed, also seen on camera, called 911:
“She just f***ing lit the trash can on fire and dumped it in the f***ing living room,” says a voice off-camera. “This is not happening right now,” he continues, zooming in on flames flickering through the house’s open front door.
He then focuses the camera on a woman who appears to sit in a lawn chair, watching the fire. “I cannot actually believe it. And she’s sitting there, just chilling, watching the house go up in flames.”
*Warning: Video Contains Strong Language
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The report done by WJZ claimed that the resident sought help with Metwally’s mental issues in the past but did not receive any aid from authorities. This is where I would argue that the pandemic restrictions should look into individual cases of eviction rather than offering blanket orders to halt all evictions indefinitely.