Puyallup, Wash. --- (KING News) She was initially called a hero, who saved her young son from their burning home. Now, that Puyallup, Washington mom is accused of setting the fire herself.
Investigators with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department arrested Melinda Sayers on Thursday.
Detectives say Sayers intentionally started a fire at her 107th Avenue Court East home on April 1st. She and her two-year-old son were the only ones home at the time.
Neighbors remember seeing her pull herself and the young boy through a front window. Many praised Sayers for her quick action and bravery.
"To me she seemed like in a state of shock," said neighbor Jessica MacDougall. "Overwhelmed with the fire and didn't have much to say and was kinda shocked. Then once Chris got here, he ran over to his wife and son to make sure they were okay."
Relatives, friends, neighbors and even strangers rallied around the family in the days and weeks that followed the fire, which they thought was accidental at the time. Thousands of dollars in donations poured for the Sayers.
They'd heard the family's sad story and felt compelled to help. Not only had they lost everything in the fire, the couple had an infant baby that had spent nearly a year at Seattle Children's Hospital.
Baby Abigail was born premature and suffered complications as a result. She survived several brain surgeries over the course of her 11-month-old life. She died at the hospital one day after the fire.
They say Melinda Sayers eventually admitted to setting the fire because "she had too much going on" and wanted her daughter to stay at the hospital.
Sayers is now being held in the Pierce County Corrections Center, on suspicion of Arson in the 1st degree. She is due in court on Friday.
The family's home in Puyallup is unlivable for Chris Sayers and his surviving children.
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