Bystanders rescued one of Gail Metwally's housemates from the basement

By Chris Harris
May 05, 2021 10:58 AM
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A woman sat in a lawn chair after setting her home on fire and watched the house become engulfed in flames
The burning home of Gail Metwally, who is seen in her mugshot
| Credit: Maryland State Fire Marshal

Authorities in Maryland have arrested a 47-year-old woman, alleging she set several fires inside her home, then went outside and settled into a lawn chair to watch the blaze.

In addition to several arson-related charges, Gail Metwally is also charged with attempted murder because there was someone still inside her Elkton home at the time.

Deputy State Fire Marshals allege the fire was set April 29, shortly after 1 p.m.

"Witnesses reported observing a woman" — allegedly later identified as Metwally — "setting multiple fires within the home and then sitting in a chair on the front lawn, where she watched the fire engulf the home," reads a statement on her arrest.

Neighbors shot video footage that seems to show Metwally in the chair, looking at her house as it burned.

"After a few minutes, Metwally walked away from the scene," the statement continues. "While the home was on fire, witnesses heard an occupant in a basement window yelling for help. Bystanders safely assisted her out the window."

The woman who was helped out of the basement is one of Metwally's three housemates.

The other two were not home at the time of the fire.

"While responding to the scene, Cecil County Sheriff's Office observed Metwally in the area, where she was detained and transported to the Maryland State Police North East Barrack," the statement adds.

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Metwally, who remains in custody, is charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder, first-degree arson, and first-degree assault, as well as two counts of first-degree malicious burning, two counts of malicious destruction of property, and two counts of reckless endangerment.

PEOPLE could not determine if she had entered pleas to those charges, or had an attorney of record who could comment on her behalf.

A motive for the alleged arson is unclear.