California woman facing eviction sets herself on fire

A woman facing eviction from her Northern California apartment poured gasoline over her body and set herself on fire in a blaze that nearly killed her and almost destroyed the four-unit property where she lived, fire officials said Monday.

Fire investigator Cyndi Foreman said Melissa McMullin, 44, doused herself in gasoline, lay down on her bed and flicked a lighter igniting the Sunday evening blaze in Santa Rosa, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported (

"The room erupted in flames. She tried to escape out of her bedroom window. Her son . burst in and dragged her out and saved her life," said Foreman, a fire prevention specialist with the Central Fire Authority of Sonoma County who led the investigation.

McMullin was hospitalized with third-degree burns. Her son was treated for smoke inhalation. No one else was hurt, Foreman said.

While she is suspected of arson, she hasn't been arrested.

Fire officials estimated damage to the property to be as much as $500,000 because of the extensive damage to the building and belongings in the four apartments.

McMullin was due to be evicted April 30 because of ongoing disputes she was in with neighbors. She told investigators she had texted her sons a goodbye note and had intended to kill herself, said Foreman.


Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat,