Advance woman charged with arson, endangering children

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

ADVANCE, Mo. -- A mother was accused of setting fire last week to her rural Advance home while her young children were inside.

Candi M. Holt, 25, was charged with felony first-degree arson and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Local officials received a call around 12:32 a.m. Thursday of a fire in a one-story home on County Road 306 in Stoddard County near Advance, according to Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner.

Holt and her husband had been quarreling outside the home in their yard when the defendant went inside the house. The husband then saw curtains in the home on fire and rushed in to rescue his two children, ages 2 and 3, Hefner said. He then brought his wife out and attempted to extinguish the flames himself before calling 911, the sheriff said.

No one was injured, but the house was a loss.

"It was pretty much destroyed," Hefner said.

Investigators determined the blaze was intentionally set by a Zippo lighter and Holt was accused of igniting it, according to Hefner. The motive behind the arson remained under investigation, he said.

Hefner called the quarrel between the husband and wife that led up to the fire one that "got out of hand."

Holt, who was being held in lieu of a $125,000 cash-only bond, was scheduled for arraignment on Thursday in Stoddard County.

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