Eyewitness News Reporter/Weekend Anchor

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Fire investigators say a Chattanooga woman intentionally set her own home on fire.

Authorities charged 23 year-old Rodreka Gaines with arson late Tuesday afternoon.

Neighbors say Gaines planned to burn her home down.

"She said she was going to set it on fire," said LaShaunda Timmons, a friend of the suspect.

Timmons told Eyewitness News, Gaines told her Tuesday morning she was mad at her boyfriend and had plans to torch his stuff.

"I didn't believe her," said Timmons, "I guess she got mad because her boyfriend didn't take her no where, so she set her house on fire."

Timmons says around noon she could smell smoke from her home three blocks away, and knew where it was coming from.

"I smelled smoke, and then heard a big boom noise," she said.


Neighbors say when they arrived to the home they were immediately suspicious.

A chair, clothing, and other household items were piled on Gaines' porch. Neighbors say Gaines pulled them out of the house before the fire started.

Fire investigators say the evidence at the home indicates that the fire was intentionally set, but they are still trying to determine where in the house the fire started.

"It's possible it started on the front porch outside," Bruce Garner with the Chattanooga Fire Department told reporters on the scene, "there are other indications that maybe the fire perhaps might have started somewhere else."

Investigators spent the day collecting samples, photos and interviews from eyewitnesses.

Garner says there are still details to hash out, but officials are confident Gaines is behind the crime.

"She gets upset too quick," she said, "every time she gets upset I come down here and calm her down, but I didn't believe her this time."

Gaines was taken by ambulance from the scene to Parkridge Hospital.

She was arrested at the hospital and taken to the Hamilton County Jail.

According to investigators, Gaines was renting the home at the time of the fire.