A 59-year-old woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to setting a fire that caused millions of dollars in damage at the Home Depot in north Spokane earlier this year.
Kennie A. Calvert pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree arson. Judge Rachelle E. Anderson sentenced Calvert to 10 years in jail, including 18 months of community custody and a 20-year ban from all Home Depot stores.
Calvert started the fire on May 19 at the Home Depot at 9116 N. Newport Hwy. The fire erupted into 25-foot flames that caused $6 million to $7 million worth of damage, Home Depot said.
A sprinkler system suppressed the fire, which would have destroyed the building, Spokane Fire Department Chief Brian Schaeffer said of the incident. It took about an hour to get the fire under control, he said.
Calvert was arrested for shoplifting in an unrelated incident at the Spokane Valley Home Depot She told police that she started the fire as a distraction to steal a six-pack of paper towels, a bag of Miracle-Gro, a roll of black wire and a potted plant, according to a search warrant document.
Defense attorney Stephanie Cady said Calvert took responsibility for the arson but said she was not solely responsible for the fire.
“She wants to put this behind her,” Cady said of her client, who did not make a statement.
However, Anderson said Calvert has racked up 19 felonies and 23 misdemeanors for crimes as early as 1992. The 10-year sentence was based on her criminal history and the severity of the crime, she said.
Anderson said the damage Calvert caused “goes beyond just monetary” damages, adding that the people who worked at the store likely felt unsafe in their work place as a result of the fire.
“The folks that were there for this fire will probably remember that forever,” the judge said. “I’m not sure how clearly you thought that through. It was a huge error in your thinking.”
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