MISSOULA — Georgena Oldperson is accused of felony arson following a weekend fire on Scott Street in Missoula.
Crews were called to reports of a structure fire in the 1300 block of Scott Street at approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday and arrived to find a large tree, a structure, two sheds, and a vehicle on fire.
Missoula Police Department spokesman Detective Lt. Eddie McLean says that while firefighters were extinguishing the fire, dispatchers received a call from a woman claiming responsibility for the fire.
The woman refused to identify herself or answer any questions and hung up, but McLean says Dispatch told officers the phone number was associated with a woman named Georgena Oldperson.
Officers were aware of Oldperson through prior law enforcement contacts, according to a news release.
An officer responding to the fire recognized Oldperson as she was walking on the Scott Street Bridge.
McLean says another officer then found Oldperson on the south side of the bridge and could smell smoke while talking with her.
She also had two cell phones in her possession and when the officer called the number used by the woman claiming responsibility for the fire, it rang to one of the phones in Oldperson’s possession.
Oldperson was arrested, taken to the Missoula jail, and charged with felony arson.
There were no injuries reported, and although the value of the property damage was high, a precise estimate of the damage is yet to be determined. The investigation into the fire continues.
According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Oldperson has a felony conviction of DUI (4th or more) in Missoula County, and a felony conviction for issuing a bad check in Lake County.