Woman Charged With Murder In Series Of Chicago Fires

Monday, March 12th 2007, 12:40 pm
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ A woman suspected of starting a series of fires near Wrigley Field that killed four people was charged Monday with murder, authorities said.

Witnesses had reported seeing an unkempt woman wearing clear plastic bags on her feet near the scene of three small fires that broke out in the area late Friday and early Saturday, according to Edward O'Donnell, commander of the police department's bomb and arson unit.

The fourth blaze, reported Saturday morning within walking distance of the others, quick spread through a three-story apartment building, killing four people inside, fire officials said.

Mary Smith was questioned after the fires and charged Monday with two counts of aggravated arson and four counts of first-degree murder, the Cook County state's attorneys office said. She was described as in her 40s.

Police had brought the woman in for questioning after finding her on the street late Saturday with ``an odor of smoke,'' police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.