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


Brandon Champion
MLive.com, 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.

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)
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)

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.

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©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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