Oswego woman arrested after setting house on fire with people, animals inside, police say

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — An Oswego woman was arrested on Monday, Oct. 2, after an investigation revealed she allegedly set her house on fire intentionally with both people and animals inside.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, officers from the Oswego City Police Department as well as Oswego firefighters were dispatched to 165 E 4th St. for a fire.

Upon arrival, officers say they saw all residents had evacuated safely from the multi-unit residence which had both smoke and fire coming from the second-story windows.

Firefighters worked their way up a staircase to the second story while encountering high heat and blinding smoke conditions, while also looking for any trapped people or animals. No people were hurt, but several pets were rescued.

Courtesy of Oswego Fire Department

The Oswego Fire Department off-duty personnel were summoned to the scene as well as mutual aid from the Fulton Fire Department and Novelis Fire Department.

According to firefighters, the fire from the second story advanced into the attic, requiring ceilings to be pulled and large volumes of water directed into the attic and voids in the walls.

Eventually, firefighters got the fire under control and extinguished in a little more than an hour. The second story of the large home suffered heavy fire, smoke, and water damage.

At least 4 people were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross and one Oswego firefighter was transported to the hospital with injuries and has since been released, and is expected to make a full recovery.

An investigation into the origin of the fire was conducted with the assistance of the Oswego Fire
Department and the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

As a result of the investigation, 25-year-old Samantha S. O’Neil of Oswego was arrested on Monday and charged with the following:

  • Arson in the 2nd degree a class B felony
  • Attempted murder a class B felony
  • Burglary in the 1st degree a class C felony
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the 4th degree
    • A class A misdemeanor as it is alleged Ms. O’Neil intentionally started the fire knowing there were persons inside the residence.
Courtesy of Oswego Police

O’Neil was arraigned in Oswego County CAP Court and was remanded to the Oswego County Jail on a $25,000 cash/$50,000 bond. She is scheduled to return to Oswego City Court on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 9:30 a.m.

“Our firefighters did an outstanding job getting to the second floor and getting water on the fire quickly under some very challenging conditions,” said Chief Conzone. “We appreciate the assistance from the Oswego Police Department and our mutual aid partners that assisted on the scene and answered other calls in the city during the fire.”

The Oswego Fire Department was assisted on the scene by the Oswego Police Department, Oswego DPW, Fulton Fire Department, Novelis Fire Department, Minetto Fire Department, Mexico Fire Department, the Oswego County Fire Coordinator’s Office, Menter Ambulance, and National Grid. Off-scene support was provided by the Oswego Town Fire Department and the Scriba Fire Department.

If anyone has any additional information about this incident please contact Investigator James LaDue at 315-236-4854. Calls will be kept confidential.

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