Fire investigator: Woman burns home leased from uncle - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Fire investigator: Woman burns home leased from uncle

Jessica McLeod (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Jessica McLeod (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

NICHOLS, SC (WMBF) - After five years of leasing the same home in Nichols, fire investigators believe a woman burned down her own house.

Luckily, none of the five people living the Ware Drive home were there on July 16 when flames ripped through two bedrooms on opposite ends of the house.

However, 30-year-old Jessica Nicole McLeod admitted she was there just 15 minutes before, picking up a fan to take to a relative in the hospital.

When the smoke cleared and fire investigators examined what remained, they noted heavy fire and smoke damage in the two bedrooms, but the middle of the home was "considerably less damaged," the police report states. They suggested the fires may have started in the mattresses in those bedrooms and there was evidence of arson.

Jessica McLeod was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center on August 23 and charged with arson, making a false insurance claim to obtain benefits for fire or explosion loss, and filing a false police report.

She admitted to police that she obtained a renter's insurance policy worth $20,000 before the fire. She was leasing the home from another family member, and four other relatives shared the home with her, the police report states.

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