A woman who started a fire that spread through two apartment buildings and forced the evacuation of tenants has been put on house arrest.
It’s lucky no one was hurt or killed in the fire, Judge Don Slough said.
“We have a huge amount of property damage, but we don’t have any loss of life … it’s a very serious offence,” Slough said.
Lorraine Bouboire, 50, was sentenced for arson in Brandon court on Thursday.
It was on June 25, 2013 that she got in an argument with her then boyfriend at their apartment on the 400-block of 15th Street and lit a quilt on fire — the resulting blaze spread through her building and to one next door.
When firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after 11:30 p.m., they noted smoke billowing from the windows of Bouboire’s apartment block. Inside, there were flames as high as six to eight feet.
The fire had also spread to another apartment building to the south, and police evacuated nine residents from the two buildings.
Bouboire’s boyfriend was interviewed by police. He told investigators that he and Bouboire had been drinking when they got in an argument.
During the spat in the bedroom, Bouboire used a lighter to set alight the corners of a quilt on the bed.
She then lay back in the bed as her boyfriend tried to put out the flames with his boot, but they spread.
He managed to get Bouboire off the bed, but his attempts to put out the fire with an extinguisher failed. He also made a failed effort to pull the burning mattress out of the room.
He then went to a neighbour’s home to get another fire extinguisher, but the fire was too intense for him to enter the apartment by the time he returned.
As the boyfriend gave his statement to police, he noted that he’d lost track of Bouboire while fighting the fire and couldn’t find her. He feared that she was still in the burning building.
In fact, she’d fled and was arrested the next day when she went to the police station.
She admitted to setting the fire with intent to scare her boyfriend, but didn’t realize how big the fire was going to get.
Both buildings were damaged to a total of $249,600.
Bouboire’s own suite had to be completely remodelled and there had been smoke throughout all apartments in both buildings.
In court on Thursday, Bouboire was also sentenced on an unrelated charge of previously breaching a bail order by drinking alcohol.
Crown attorney Marnie Evans and defence lawyer Norm Sims both recommended a conditional sentence.
Slough agreed and sentenced Bouboire to 12 months house arrest as part of a conditional sentence, followed by one year of probation.
Court heard that Bouboire can’t pay for the full amount of the damage done to the two buildings.
Instead, she was ordered to pay $500 to cover any insurance deductible that may have been paid.
Sims said Bouboire has written apology letters to her neighbours.