BOISE -- Garden City Police arrested 35-year-old Jodi Bassett late Wednesday night. She's accused of setting fire to a southeast Boise house while her three kids were inside.
Bassett is charged with first-degree arson, which is a felony, and three counts of felony injury to a child. She made her first court appearance Thursday afternoon. She cried throughout, held her head in her hands as the judge read the charges, and she sobbed uncontrollably as he issued no-contact orders with her children.
Back on December 19, 2012, at 2:28 a.m., Boise firefighters were called to an explosive house fire on Yorktown Way. When they arrived, they found the front windows blown out, the garage door bulging in the middle, and one explosion had knocked a living room wall off the foundation. Firefighters say they barely escaped getting hurt as there was an explosion just as they arrived. The fire engulfed the home, but the three children inside got out without getting hurt.
We talked to a neighbor, Martina Ominski, who told us that fire was just frightening. "It was just the scariest night I've ever seen, ever. The first explosion shook every house in this neighborhood," she said.
Almost immediately, fire investigators said the cause of the fire was suspicious. They now say evidence points to Bassett setting her own home on fire with her three kids inside.
Ominski says Bassett was acting strangely for months before the fire. She's very sad to hear the news that Bassett was charged, but says most neighbors suspected her, and believed it was only a matter of time before she was arrested.
"I just can't believe Jodi would do something like that," said Ominski. "Why? I don't understand why she would do something like that to... I mean, she could've killed the girls. That's just crazy. Oh my gosh."
The children have not been in Bassett's custody since the fire and have been receiving support and help through the Boise Police Department Victim Services Unit.
Bassett will be in court again on Oct. 8. She remains in the Ada County Jail on a $750,000 bond.