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Woman tied to arson blaze that killed cats

SNELLVILLE -- A two-month investigation has led to the arrest of a Gwinnett woman who set fire to her rental home and killed two house cats, authorities said.

Gwinnett County Fire Department investigators arrested Sarah Sheridan, 27, of Grayson, for allegedly setting ablaze a home in the 8500 block of Lake Drive in Snellville on the night of Oct. 6.

Sheridan sustained first-degree burns to her face and less severe burns to her legs and feet, according to a Gwinnett police report. She declined medical transport at the scene.

Sheridan initially told police she came home that night to study for a college test and discovered a fire in the basement, which she said she tried to bat down with a couch cushion, the police report says.

A neighbor told police he tried to console Sheridan as the house was burning, but she was too distraught over her cats being trapped in the house, the report says.

Firefighters were able to keep the 10:30 p.m. blaze mostly contained to the basement area, and the home avoided major damage, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

Both cats were dead when firefighters arrived, Rutledge said.

Investigator won't comment on Sheridan's alleged motive for wanting the house burned. She was the only person home at the time, and the investigation revealed that an accelerant was used, Rutledge said.

Sheridan was arrested Wednesday at her current residence in Grayson. She posted $30,000 bond and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail a day later.

She faces one count each of first-degree arson, cruelty to animals and providing false statements to police.