Crime & Courts

Woman charged with arson in West Anchorage home fire

A woman accused of setting a home on fire in Anchorage’s Turnagain neighborhood last week now faces arson charges, according to charging documents.

Neighbors near the Loussac Drive home “reported hearing loud booms and seeing heavy billows of smoke and flames coming from the residence” around 10 a.m. Oct. 18, according to charging documents filed by prosecutors. The house was engulfed in flames when first responders arrived.

The smoke awakened a man who lived in the basement of the home, the charges said. He grabbed his dog and made it safely out of the building, the charges said.

Neighbors reported hearing an early morning argument and seeing a woman speeding from the house shortly after the fire began, the charges said.

One of the residents returned to the home and said 37-year-old Wendy Seltenreich, who also lived at the home, “had told her she had set the house on fire and to go get her dog,” the charges said. Seltenreich also set a backpack on fire inside the truck, causing damage to the vehicle, the charges said.

The blaze caused significant damage to the home, which was valued at more than $235,000, the charges said.

The four residents were displaced and two dogs died in the fire, said Assistant Fire Chief Alex Boyd.

Police located Seltenreich the day of the fire and took her to a police station for questioning.

“Seltenreich made a spontaneous statement while being driven to the police station for questioning that she consumed three shots of alcohol after hearing officers knock on the door because she knew she was going to jail,” the charges said.

Seltenreich was arrested on charges of first- and third-degree arson, first-degree criminal mischief and violating conditions of release set in an open case involving assault.