A Maryland woman has been charged with attempted murder after she allegedly set her home on fire while another woman was inside before sitting in a lawn chair to watch it burn.
Gail Metwally, 47, was caught on video watching as the home was engulfed by flames in Elkton, about 50 miles north east of Baltimore, around 1.15pm last Thursday.
Metwally is seen on cell phone footage dressed in a white tank top and sun hat while sitting on the lawn with a book in her lap as she watches the inferno take hold.
An unidentified man narrates the video as the blaze tears through the home within minutes while Metwally casually watches from her front lawn.
‘She just f**king lit the trash can on fire!’ the man says.
‘Oh my f**king God, this is not happening right now! She lit the f**king house! Oh my God! I cannot actually believe my eyes. I cannot actually believe it, and she’s sitting there just chillin’ — watching the house go up flames!’
He continues: ‘Like yeah, I’m watching the s–t go down! Oh, my God, this is, this is now turned into a serious, serious thing!’
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While the home was on fire, witnesses heard an occupant in a basement window yelling for help and bystanders safely assisted her out the window
Metwally, 47, was caught on video dressed in a white tank top and sun hat while sitting with a book in her lap as her Elkton home burst into flames
Metwally (pictured in her mug shot) has been charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder, first-degree arson and first degree assault – as well as two counts each of first degree malicious burning, malicious destruction of property and reckless endangerment.
Witnesses told investigators that they saw Metwally setting multiple fires within the home before then sitting in the chair, according to a press release from the Office of the State Fire Marshall.
‘After a few minutes, Metwally walked away from the scene,’ officials said.
‘While the home was on fire, witnesses heard an occupant in a basement window yelling for help. Bystanders safely assisted her out the window.’
Officials said that a total of four people, including Metwally, live in the home but two of them were not there.
The woman who was rescued from the inferno was identified as Blenda Holbrook, 52, by WMAR.
Holbrook’s sister Pat Bernal told the outlet that someone had thrown a trash can on the stairs blocking Holbrook’s exit.
Bystander video shows how the blaze started small but soon grew to engulf the property
Blenda Holbrook was rescued from a basement window after bystanders heard her calling for help as the flames took hold. Holbrook’s sister Pat Bernal said someone had thrown a trash can on the stairs blocking Holbrook’s exit
Firefighters arrive to tackle the blaze in Elkton, about 50 miles north east of Baltimore
Motives for the arson were not immediately clear but Bernal told WMAR that Metwally had recently returned to living in the Cherry Lane home after ‘being confined elsewhere for mental health issues.’
‘Repeated pleas to authorities in recent months to address her ongoing behavioral issues had gone ignored,’ the outlet reported.
Bernal said that her sister ‘almost burned to death in that house.’
‘I’m just really thankful she’s okay. When she was talking to me, she said, ‘Pat, it burned my hair. It singed my hair, and he lost everything’,’ Bernal said, referring to the man from whom she rented a room.
She added: ‘During this COVID, they were renting a room from him from what I understand, and he couldn’t put her out, because of COVID, but what does it take?’
‘I’m just really thankful to the two guys that helped her out of that basement, because I don’t think she’d be here today if they hadn’t helped her.’
The Cecil County Sheriff’s Office found Metwally nearby and detained her before she was transported to the Maryland State Police North East Barrack. She is currently being held at the Cecil County Detention Center.
Metwally has been charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder, first-degree arson and first degree assault – as well as two counts each of first degree malicious burning, malicious destruction of property and reckless endangerment.
She has another open court case in Cecil County with five misdemeanor charges for malicious destruction of property for an incident on April 10, court records show.