Police: Drunken Hanover woman torched home, firefighter suffered burns

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Hanover Borough Police said Lorrelei Bainbridge set this house blaze in the first block of Ridge Avenue, where she lived, on Oct. 7, 2020. She is facing arson charges.

A Hanover woman allegedly burned down her grandfather's home while drunk, then laughed about it and boasted she "made it look like candles caused the fire," according to charging documents.

A Hanover firefighter suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face battling the blaze, according to police.

Lorrelei Tamor Bainbridge, 52, lived in the home she's accused of torching in the first block of Ridge Avenue in the borough, documents state.

Fire crews were dispatched to the home at 5:11 p.m. Wednesday and battled the blaze, which caused substantial damage to the home as well as smoke damage to an attached home, charging documents state.

Police also were called to the scene, where a neighbor reported hearing a smoke detector sounding from inside the home and seeing the resident of the home — Bainbridge, police allege — leaving in her pickup truck with a dog, according to documents.

Hanover Borough Fire Chief Tony Clousher determined there were two separate areas where the fire started, known as points of origin — in the first-floor living room and in a second-floor bedroom, documents state. He determined the fire was arson, police said.

While police were still on the scene, Bainbridge's boyfriend drove up with Bainbridge in the passenger seat. The boyfriend told police that Bainbridge was intoxicated and had started the blaze, charging documents state.

'Belligerent': She smelled of alcohol and was belligerent, police said, denying she torched the home and claiming she lit two candles to "calm her" before taking her dog for a walk, documents allege.

Hanover Borough Police said Lorrelei Bainbridge set this fire in her home in the first block of Ridge Avenue on Oct. 7, 2020. She is facing arson charges.

As she was led to a waiting police cruiser, Bainbridge threatened to fight police and threatened a number of bystanders with physical harm, according to documents.

In the cruiser, Bainbridge admitted drinking a quarter of a bottle of Crown Royal whisky and driving her pickup truck to a local business in the 1100 block of Carlisle Street, where she left it, police allege.

Her boyfriend told police he was driving home when he spotted Bainbridge driving with the dog in her truck and followed her to the business lot where she parked, police said.

According to the boyfriend, Bainbridge "laughed and stated she burned the house down and made it look like candles caused the fire," charging documents allege.

The boyfriend took her keys and drove her back to the Ridge Avenue home to meet with officers, police said.

Officers later found a marijuana pipe and a half-full bottle of Crown Royal in her truck, documents state.

Truck 'loaded' with clothes: The back seat of Bainbridge's pickup "was loaded with clothing and other personal effects," making it appear "as though someone was intending on leaving with no intentions of returning," according to charging documents.

Hanover Borough Police said Lorrelei Bainbridge set this fire in her home in the first block of Ridge Avenue on Oct. 7, 2020. She is facing arson charges.

A Hanover Area Fire and Rescue firefighter was treated at a local hospital after suffering first- and second-degree burns on his face while battling the house fire, police said.

Bainbridge could not be reached for comment on Friday; her phone message stated she wasn't accepting calls. It's unclear if she has retained an attorney.

She has not yet been arraigned on her charges, which include four separate felony counts of arson — for causing a danger of death or injury, for burning an inhabited structure, for recklessly placing others in danger and for intentionally destroying an unoccupied building, according to court documents.

Bainbridge also will be charged with felony criminal mischief and the misdemeanors of driving under the influence/second offense, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.

An update on the injured firefighter's condition and a damage estimate for the blaze must come from Clousher, the borough fire chief, who did not return a phone message seeking comment.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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