NORFOLK, Va. — Federal prosecutors said a Chesapeake woman may have tried to burn down her home with her five children still inside.
In July neighbors and firefighters rescued five children from a burning South Norfolk home. The children were aged 10, 7, 4, 3 and 6-months-old.
Chesapeake Fire Department investigators ruled the fire was an accident. However, prosecutors said Monica Perkins may have set the fire to 'reset her life' during a detention hearing for boyfriend Willey E. Brooks Jr. on Thursday.
Perkins, Brooks and seven others are indicted on robbery charges for a string of violent and elaborate grocery store robberies in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Perkins and Brooks are being held in jail, awaiting an April trial date.
The Virginian Pilot reports that Chesapeake investigators may review the prosecutors' information and take another look at the cause of the house fire. Perkins was not charged after the fire was ruled an accident.
Neighbors said four children were heard screaming out of the home's second-floor window as the fire spread.
"I was telling them to calm down...that I could grab one at a time starting with the smallest," neighbor Ron Bollinger said.
Perkins interviewed with 13 News Now after the fire was contained and her children were saved.
"To see that my kids made it out like the house just fell in," Perkins said. "I just went in there and I'm like how the hell did they?"
Perkins, Brooks and seven other people were charged by a federal grand jury for their roles in robbing a Food Lion in Chesapeake on September 25, a Food Lion in Virginia Beach on September 29, and a Harris Teeter in Virginia Beach on October 3.