By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
FRANKLIN — The woman who set fire to an apartment house on School Street last September, destroying the building and displacing the tenants, was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in New Hampshire State Prison and ordered to pay an estimated $80,000 in restitution o Merrimack County Superior last week.
Amber Rose Cowan, 29, who lived in one of the units at 34-36 School St., pleaded guilty to one count of felony arson.
As firefighters fought the blaze, both Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle and the Franklin Police received several reports that the fire had been set deliberately. With assistance from the Northfield Police officers from Franklin arrested and charged Cowan, who days before had threatened the landlord after being served with an eviction notice. Witnesses told police that Cowan said that she was going to set fire to the building and asked neighbors for a gas can and money to buy gasoline. Video surveillance at Franklin Shop Express showed Cowan purchasing gasoline and pumping it into a one-gallon can, which was found at the scene of the fire.
The Franklin Fire Department and Police Department, together with officials of the New Hampshire State Fire Marshall's Office, UNited States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Manchester Fire Department conducted a joint investigation of the incident.
In a prepared statement, LaChapelle said that he was pleased with the outcome of the prosecution, adding that "Ms. Cowan placed several occupants and firefighters in great danger that day."
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