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Woman Allegedly Set Fire to Own Home with Person Still Inside, Then Sat in Lawn Chair to Watch It Burn

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Residents in one neighborhood in Elkton, Maryland, were stunned by a very odd and unsettling sight last month: a woman, sitting in a lawn chair with a book in hand, watching the house before her break out in a fire that she appeared to have set.

According to a media release from the Maryland State Fire Marshal, on April 29, witnesses spotted 47-year-old Gail J. Metwally starting fires inside the house she lived in with three other people.

In a video that was shared on social media, one witness filmed what appeared to be an altercation between Metwally, a man and one of the other female residents of the home.

The person filming the video narrated and said Metwally lit a trashcan on fire and then dumped it in the living room.

She was then seen sitting in a lawn chair, watching the house as it caught fire.


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“I couldn’t believe that she was just sitting there, like it wasn’t happening,” Avery Hammond, who shot one of the videos circulating online, told Inside Edition.

A woman was in the basement when the fire started to get out of hand, and she began yelling for help. The same video on social media shows bystanders running to help her escape through a basement window.

Metwally stayed in the chair for a few minutes, then wandered away. She was found a short while later by police.

“She just casually went out there, sat in the chair, stated a few obscenities and watched the fire spread throughout the house,” Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire confirmed, according to Inside Edition.

It was shortly after 1:00 p.m. that Singerly Fire Company and other emergency responders showed up and worked to put out the fire.

“Deputy State Fire Marshals responded and conducted an origin and cause investigation and concluded the fire was incendiary (arson) in nature,” the fire marshal’s release read.

“A total of 4 people resided in the home, including Metwally. Two were not home, while the third was still inside when Metwally committed the arson.”


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“Metwally has been charged with 1st and 2nd Degree Attempted Murder, 1st Degree Arson, 1st Degree Assault, two counts of Malicious Burning 1st Degree, two counts of Malicious Destruction of Property, and two counts of Reckless Endangerment.”

Metwally is being held without bond, according to state records referenced by NBC News. She also reportedly suffers from mental health issues.

Thankfully, no one was injured even though the house suffered serious structural damage.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

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