Woman accused of setting fire at her Melbourne apartment

Jennifer Mae Wayne arrested on arson charges

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A woman was arrested Tuesday night on arson charges in connection with a fire at her Melbourne apartment.

The fire broke out before 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Park Village Apartments.

Melbourne police said Jennifer Mae Wayne, 26, was arrested on charges of first-degree arson of a structure with people present and resisting an officer without violence.

Witnesses told police that they saw Wayne leaving her apartment as the fire was starting, and she did nothing to get help.

A 911 caller was recorded Tuesday night saying, "There was someone in a blanket, but they just kind of walked away and I don't know where they went."

Officers said they found her a couple of hours later at a nearby subdivision.

Nearby apartment units were evacuated because of the fire, police said. That includes tenant Janet Goodman's apartment. She told News 6 Wednesday that Wayne's behavior was always bizarre.

"People have seen her like at 4:30 in the morning, leaving the apartment and walking around out here in the dark," said Goodman.

With soot still covering her legs Wednesday afternoon at the county jail, a state attorney asked sheriff's deputies to take pictures of Wayne to help build a case.

"This was not a single-family dwelling. This was an apartment complex which obviously multiplies the risk to the community on this," said assistant state attorney Gary Beatty.

"You have no prior criminal history, but the court is concerned about the safety of the public," Brevard County Judge Kelly Ingram said to Wayne in court Wednesday.

Wayne was being held at the Brevard County Detention Center on $50,500 bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 28. She will be represented by the Public Defender's Office.

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.