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Shelbyville woman charged with arson

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Police say fire in bedroom started with burning roll of toilet paper

By Lisa King

A Shelbyville woman is behind bars, charged with first-degree arson in connection with a fire in her apartment.
Mallory Taylor, 26, was arrested Sept. 25, the day after her apartment at 205 Lynne Acres was damaged by fire, police say.

A Shelbyville Police report said that Taylor intentionally set fire to a roll of toilet paper that started a blaze in her bedroom, causing damage to the room. That was the second fire that day, police said, with the first occurring only a short time earlier.

Shelbyville Police Chief Danny Goodwin said that investigators from the Shelbyville Fire Department had declared the first fire, which was called in at around 8 p.m., to be accidental, probably electrical in nature.

“After a certified electrician looked at the situation, they believe it was a faulty wire, either in a lamp, or in the wall socket itself,” he said.

But when crews returned for a second time about 45 minutes later, they deemed that blaze intentionally set, Goodwin said.

“The toilet paper was on the floor, and there was no electrical outlet on the wall where that was,” he said. “There was no reason for a roll of toilet paper on a wall with no electrical outlet to burst into flames by itself.”

Goodwin offered a possible motive for the incident.

“The speculation has been made that a landlord told her she was going to be held responsible for the damage from the first fire,” he said. “I think that the idea is that, if you set a second fire, it would burn the whole place down, and insurance would cover it. That’s a possible motive, but we’re not for sure.”

Goodwin said he did not know how many people lived in the apartment with Taylor but that she was alone at the time of the fires.

“There was a child’s seat in there, but she was the only person in that apartment at the time, not that that rest of the apartments in the complex, or in that particular building were not occupied,” he said. “If it had caught the entire apartment building on fire, there obviously could have been some loss of life.”

Taylor is being held on a $10,000 cash bond. She has a court date of 2 p.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

The charge of first-degree arson is a Class A felony, which carries the most severe penalty of all classes of felonies – not less than 20 years, but not to exceed 50 years – or life imprisonment.