Athens woman charged with arson for westside boarding house fire


Tabitha Williams Johnson

By Joe Johnson

An Athen Athens woman was arrested Thursday for setting a fire inside a westside boarding house.

Athens-Clarke Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Battalion Chief Nate Moss said fire units responded at about 5 p.m.to a reported structure fire at 985 W. Broad St., where they found smoke coming out of the building, and several tenants standing outside.

“Residents at the scene reported the fire to have been intentionally set by a resident that had left the scene,” Moss said. “The fire involved only a mattress and was quickly extinguished at the exterior of the structure by firefighters. There was no extension of fire damage to any other parts of the room or to any other parts of the structure.”

Athens-Clarke County police Lt. Shaun Barnett said when officers arrived, witnesses pointed out 49-year-old Tabitha Williams Johnson as the person who set the mattress fire.

He said that Williams, of Park Avenue, told officers that she was visiting the boarding house and consuming drugs.

“Johnson stated that someone stole her phone which angered her,” said Barnett, ACCPD’s public information officer. “She stated that she then set a fire in the room she was visiting.”

Johnson was arrested and charged with first-degree arson.

As of Friday, she was being held without bail at the county jail.

Additionally, according to the jail’s website, holds have been on Johnson’s release by the Bibb, Houston, and Baldwin sheriff offices for unspecified offenses.

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