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Woman Accused Of Intentionally Setting Fire To Kill Family Of Six In Hudson Valley

fire truck
fire truck Photo Credit: Pixabay/automatic6517

A Hudson Valley woman has been charged with six counts of attempted murder for allegedly intentionally setting multiple fires inside an apartment house with the intent of killing the occupants.

Orange County resident Dawn Hulse, age 50, of Port Jervis, was arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 25 for the incident which took place earlier in the morning.

According to City of Port Jervis Police Chief William Worden, around 12:20 a.m., the Port Jervis City Police and Fire departments responded to a fire alarm activation at a two-family home located at 156 Jersey Avenue in the City of Port Jervis. 

Police officers arrived on the scene and found heavy smoke and fire coming from the downstairs apartment while occupants consisting of three adults and three children, from the second-floor apartment were seen evacuating the residence.

Officers were informed that a woman was observed inside the first-floor apartment causing officers to attempt to make entry inside the apartment for a rescue, Worden said.

Officers forced entry into the apartment and found that the exterior doors had been intentionally barricaded on the interior side to prevent entry. 

They also found several separate fires burning inside the apartment. Armed with fire extinguishers, officers attempted to extinguish the fire which was burning in several rooms while searching for the woman, the chief said.

Due to the fire conditions and heavy smoke, officers were forced to retreat from the residence and alerted arriving firefighters that a woman was trapped inside the apartment. 

Port Jervis firefighters were able to get inside and extinguished the fire and began to ventilate the smoke.

Firefighters then located the woman in the rear bathroom of the apartment with the door barricaded. 

 A team of police officers and firefighters forced entry into the bathroom and located a 50-year-old female, identified as Hulse, who lives in the apartment, unresponsive lying face down in the bathtub, Worden said.

Officers and firefighters evacuated the victim from the residence to perform life-saving measures and discovered the victim had a pulse and was breathing on her own. 

 The victim was transported by Port Jervis EMS to Bon Scours Community Hospital for treatment.

An investigation into the incident was conducted by the Port Jervis Police Department, Orange County Fire Investigation Unit, Port Jervis Fire Department, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

As a result of the investigation, the cause of the fire was determined to be intentionally set and it was learned that the electronic circuit breaker powering the smoke detectors for the apartment building was disconnected prior to the fire being set, police said.

Hulse was charged with six counts of attempted murder and arson and was remanded to Orange County Jail without bail pending further court appearances.

This is the second arson charge for Hulse who was arrested and charged in November in the village of Goshen with setting fire to a building in the basement of a building.

Due to bail reform, Hulse was released after being charged with arson in that case, Worden said.

According to Orange County District Attorney's Office, she will be tried for both crimes under a single indictment.

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