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Snellville woman charged with setting her apartment ablaze

SNELLVILLE -- Fire investigators charged a Snellville woman with setting her apartment on fire during a bizarre series of events that began Tuesday night.

Charity Nickelson, 25, is being held without bond on first-degree arson charges. She's accused of setting ablaze the apartment she lived in alone in the 2800 block of Spruce Cicle in Snellville.

Firefighters responded to the apartments just before 6 a.m. Wednesday and contained the fire to a single room in Nickelson's second-floor unit. No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators became suspicious when they learned police had already been called to Nickelson's residence twice throughout the night -- once for an animal complaint, and again when she was found in the parking lot with a burning bowl of dog food, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

Nickelson was arrested on drug charges by Gwinnett police shortly after the apartment fire, Rutledge said.

"During the course of the investigation by the fire department, evidence from the woman's cell phone was obtained that led to (arson) warrants being taken," Rutledge said.

Rutledge noted that first-degree arson is punishable by more than 20 years in prison.