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Woman charged with arson in blaze that injured firefighter who rescued her

The firefighter pulled the woman from the “suspicious” 2018 fire she is now accused of starting

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Gretchen Lee VanOrmer, 54, was arrested and charged with arson in relation to an October 2018 fire she was rescued from. A firefighter was injured pulling VanOrmer from the blaze.

Photo/Michigan State Police

Brandon Champion, Walker, Mich.

KALKASKA COUNTY, Mich. – A Michigan woman rescued from a fire in October 2018 has now been charged with starting it.

A firefighter from the Kalkaska Township Fire Department was injured pulling Gretchen Lee VanOrmer, 54, from the “suspicious” early morning fire that occurred at a residence on Anderson Road in Kalkaska on Oct. 15, 2018.

Both the firefighter and VanOrmer were treated at local hospitals and recovered. While investigating the house, a Michigan State Police K-9 discovered possible fire accelerants in the living room.

Samples were sent to the MSP Crime Lab for analysis and VanOrmer was eventually arrested. She was arraigned on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the 87-B District Court of Kalkaska on one count of first degree arson.

That charge is a felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years or a fine of not more than $20,000 or 3 times the value of the property damaged or destroyed, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

VanOrmer was released on a $20,000, 10 percent cash surety bond.


©2020, Walker, Mich.