Fire Marshal: Woman to be Charged with Arson in Sharpsburg House Fire

Fire Marshal: Woman to be Charged with Arson in Sharpsburg House Fire

Members with the Maryland State Fire Marshal say Karen Lee Gillespie, 47, poured gasoline inside her two-car detached garage and throughout the ranch-style house before igniting them on fire.
Sharpsburg Fire (WHAG)
Sharpsburg Fire (WHAG)
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - The woman who was flown to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center Monday suffering severe burns to her face is accused with intentionally setting her own house on fire. 

The blaze happened Monday morning at a house along 17524 General Longstreet Circle in Sharpsburg. 

Members with the Maryland State Fire Marshal say Karen Lee Gillespie, 47, poured gasoline inside her two-car detached garage and throughout the ranch-style house before igniting them on fire. 

As a direct result of setting the fires, Gillespie received first and second-degree burns to her extremities and face. She was quickly transported by MSP Trooper 3 helicopter to the hospital. 

First arriving firefighters found the garage was fully involved with fire, and heavy fire was observed coming from the rear of the house. About 50 firefighters from Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia assisted with the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Company extinguish the fires within two hours after arriving on scene. 

Damage to both structures and contents are estimated at $208,000. Fire officials say two family pets, a cat and a dog died in the blaze. 

According to the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the investigation revealed the home was under foreclosure proceedings and an eviction of the property was to happen around 10 a.m. Monday morning, the day of the fire. 

During the investigation it was reveled that her husband, Rexel Gillespie and their two children were unaware of the upcoming eviction, officials say. The family is being assisted by the American Red Cross and family members at this time. 

Upon release from the hospital, Karen Gillespie will be charged with first and second-degree arson, three counts of first-degree malicious burning and two counts animal cruelty. 


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