National News

Neighbors say Salem woman yelled 'Let it burn' after setting her apartment on fire

Posted November 27, 2017 1:14 p.m. EST

— Police said a Salem woman is being charged with arson after she tried setting her apartment on fire Friday night.

According to police, 23-year-old Vanessa Gonzalez set fire to the breezeway between her and a neighbor's apartment off Hadley Street.

With nowhere else to go and their lives at stake, neighbors said people living across from Gonzalez escaped the fire by jumping out of a window.

Investigators said those residents suffered minor burns.

Chris Manning, who lives next door, showed FOX 12 a photo of him on a roof above the apartment's front door.

He said he tried busting out an upstairs window to get to Gonzalez, using everything from a headboard to his elbow, then finally, a hammer.

"When I broke it with a hammer that's when I sliced my hand," he explained.

Manning said he also heard Gonzalez yelling as she sat on the ledge of an upstairs window.

"She wasn't yelling to get help, she was yelling to let the building burn," he recalled.

Officers have not said why they think Gonzalez started the fire, but they are hoping to have more information in the upcoming days.