March 31, 1998 in Idaho

Arson Charged In Fire Front Avenue Home’s Owner Arrested, Booked Into Jail Following Midday Blaze

By The Spokesman-Review

Flames raced through a house Monday afternoon and police arrested its owner for allegedly setting the blaze.

Winifred Bymaster, 63, was booked into the Kootenai County Jail on one count of first-degree arson, a jail sergeant said. Investigators did not disclose how the fire started.

Neighbors reported the fire at 1220 Front Avenue about 12:50 p.m. Thick black smoke billowed from the house and flames licked at a neighboring home when firefighters arrived minutes later.

Breean Crawford, 13, was loading things from her house into a pickup across the street when she noticed the fire in a front window.

“It was all flames,” Crawford said. “Then the window broke and the whole thing went up.”

Crawford’s 16-year-old sister, Tamra, said she first noticed flames on a lamp shade. She described the fire as small, initially.

“It went up really quick,” Tamra Crawford said. “It was just a little lamp shade.”

Ten firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze, limiting damage to the house next door to about $1,000, said Pete Vandall, city fire inspector.

Damage to the one-story house where the fire originated was estimated at $45,000.

Everyone was out of the house when firefighters arrived, said interim Chief Rich Kirsch. No one was injured.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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