Chester woman allegedly set fire to sober house after her bong was taken away

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Eric Francis

Arraigned on a felony arson charge later Monday

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A small fire early this morning in a sober house in Chester is being blamed on a resident who was allegedly angry that a bong had been seized from her room a few hours earlier.

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    Kendra Pixley, 38, pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to a felony count of third degree arson and to an accompanying misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment before she was released from the courthouse in downtown White River Junction on several pre-trial conditions.

    Pixley faces a mandatory minimum of a year in jail and a potential maximum of up to three years if she were to be convicted of the arson charge.

    Late Sunday afternoon, a Chester Police detective had gone to the residence on Cummings Road, northeast of the Village, that is being operated as a “sober house” where owner John Hennessey turned over bongs and needles which he said had been discovered in an upstairs bedroom that was being rented by Pixley, Officer Adam Woodell wrote in an affidavit filed with the court.

    Later that evening, according to a couple who also reside in the house, Pixley allegedly, “threatened to kill John (Hennessey) and to destroy the house after discovering that her bong was missing.  (They) reported that Kendra was very angry and upset…,” Woodell wrote.

    Hennessey left the residence late in the evening to assist someone and returned just after midnight to find that the house was full of thick black smoke, Woodell said, adding that when he got to the scene first thing Monday morning he observed that a melted plastic tote filled with smoldering clothing which had been charred black had been tossed just outside the door of the residence along with a red throw rug that had been burnt through the center.

    Officer Woodell said that Pixley and the couple were the only people in the residence when the tote full of clothing caught fire in a spare bedroom.  He said that while the couple described being driven to the floor by the smoke as they yelled “Fire!,” they told police “It took a few minutes for Kendra to respond…Kendra exited her room calmly (and) helped extinguish the fire but the upstairs was still filled with smoke and Kendra returned to her room” while the couple said they removed the smoldering items from the residence.

    Officer Woodell said there was a suspicious char mark on Pixley’s door that looked as if someone had held a lighter to it

    “Kendra denied involvement with the fire as well as the drug paraphernalia seized earlier,” Woodell wrote, adding, “She advised she’d had two glasses of wine and I observed her eyes to be extremely bloodshot…I (also) observed her to have black soot on her hand.  John then began to talk about her methadone use and she got upset and shut the door on me.”

    Woodell said he collected several cigarette butts, which suggested that the contents of an ashtray might have been thrown into the tote to start the fire, before arresting Pixley and taking her to the police station where she requested a lawyer and declined to be interviewed about the evening’s events. 

    “Based on the aforementioned facts and circumstances, including my investigation and observations, I believe Kendra Pixley intentionally set fire to property belonging to John Hennessey after threatening to destroy the property earlier in the day and in doing so recklessly endangered the other occupants of the home,” Woodell concluded.

Kendra Pixley, 38, has been ordered to stay at least 300 feet away from the sober house on Cummings Road

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