Dramatic video shows woman apparently setting Big Island home on fire

Dramatic video shows woman apparently setting Big Island home on fire
Emily Smith (Image Source: Hawaii Island Police)
Emily Smith (Image Source: Hawaii Island Police)

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawai'i Island woman is in custody accused of intentionally setting her Ocean View rental on fire Wednesday morning.

"That tower of smoke is going way up there. The crazy lady next door lit her house on fire and started throwing stuff into the fire and dancing like a nut job," describes an awe-struck neighbor, who captured dramatic footage of flames from the raging fire reaching more than 60 feet high.

The woman accused of setting the fire has been identified as 36-year-old Emily Smith. Officials say she refused to take a mug shot, but she wasn't camera shy when she was captured on cell-phone by her next door neighbor Jordan Anger-- throwing her hands up in the air and cheering as she watched the house burn.

"She started to dance around in circles and say, 'Let it burn! Let it burn!' We were just in shock," Anger said.

Anger says he was getting ready for work around 6 a.m. Wednesday when his future mother-in-law came racing inside the house to alert him that the neighbor's house was on fire.

"The back of the house was burning. She came in through the carport, and by the time I had gotten outside -- she was lighting with a lighter a bag of some kind or something to start a fire. Then after she got that little fire in the carport going, she proceeded to take boxes and feed the fire -- building a bonfire in her carport. When we yelled at her, 'What are you doing?

and to get away, she said, 'The house is burning. It needs to burn. It's possessed. It's haunted'," said Anger, who says he immediately called 9-1-1 and started recording the situation so he could hand it over to the police.

"You put our house in danger you put everybody else's -- that's arson. You're going to be in jail for a long time," Anger can be heard saying over one of this recordings.

Officials say 11 firefighters responded to the scene, but the house was already fully engulfed.

"As she was going with firefighters I yelled out, 'You know she started the fire. I watched her do it. Be really careful', and at that point she didn't like that so she started to argue with the firefighters and it escalated finally to the point where she punched one of the firefighters and had to be subdued and the police ended up tackling her to the ground," described Anger.

Smith was renting the home. Anger says she had only been living there for a few months and in that time, police had been called to the house at least once for a domestic disturbance.

"My fiance asked me yesterday, 'Do you think she's dangerous?' and I was like, 'Nah, I don't think she's dangerous' and then we wake up to this this morning. It was unbelievable," Anger said.

Fire officials estimate damage to the home is around $175,000.

Smith is being held on suspicion of first-degree arson. On Thursday, she was charged with arson.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.