In the charred pile were remnants of her husband’s alleged affair: lingerie, sex toys and photographs.
Pierce County prosecutors say Jenny Mena, 32, burned the items Sunday in her Tacoma home, starting a fire that created smoke heavy enough that her four daughters took refuge in a closet and called a relative for help.
On Wednesday, Mena pleaded not guilty to aggravated first-degree arson. Bail was set at $100,000.
The fire started when Mena was burning some of her husband’s items and a rug caught fire at their home in the 3800 block of East J Street, police said.
Charging documents give this account:
Mena’s 13-year-old daughter called her uncle in Arizona to advise him that her mother was burning her father’s belongings. The daughter opened windows in the house and told her three younger sisters to get in a closet.
When police arrived, they saw children peeking out of an upstairs window. Jenny Mena told officers there had been a fire in the bedroom, but it was out. Police found charred debris on the bedroom floor.
“The defendant said she burned some pictures because she was mad,” documents state.
Mena told police her daughters weren’t home when she burned her husband’s belongings. The girls, who were wearing pajamas, told officers they had been home all night except when they went to the store with their father.
“The Fire Department said the likelihood of the home catching fire was extremely high as there was clothing and a bed inches away from where the pile of burning debris was,” documents state.
One of the children was treated for smoke inhalation. Police arrested Mena and called Child Protective Services, which placed the children with their father.
KIRO-TV reported that Mena’s husband spoke at her arraignment, pleading for her release and blaming the news media for blowing the situation out of proportion.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653