Woman arrested for setting ex-boyfriend’s bedroom on fire in Lehigh Acres

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Gaelle Simeus. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

A woman has been arrested and faces multiple charges after deputies say she started a house fire in Lehigh Acres when a mattress inside a bedroom was set ablaze with a flammable liquid on Monday.

Gaelle Simeus, 22, is in custody at the Lee County Jail after the Lee County Sheriff’s Office determined probable cause for her involvement with a house fire at the corner of
43rd Street Southwest and Ida Avenue South.

Both LCSO and Lehigh Acres Fire responded to the fire. Firefighters put out the flames that had ignited in the home’s bedroom after LCSO says Simeus tossed in a water bottle full of accelerant.

According to the arrest report: “The most probable cause of the fire was the intentional application of a portable heat source (lighter) to the mattress, which had been poured with an ignitable liquid. A water bottle with a strong odor of a petroleum product was found outside the bedroom window.”

After the inspection and investigation, it was determined that there were no other probable fire causes in the area of origin.

On Wednesday afternoon, Otto LaRose showed us around his family’s home. The home appeared tidy and in good repair, but down the hall in one of the bedrooms that was not the case. Black soot on the walls and ceiling, springs popping out of the mattress, and burned belongings, and a lingering chemical smell.

LaRose claims Simeus wanted revenge after he broke off their relationship two years ago.

He said Simeus recently tried to rekindle the romance but, said, “I would just tell her ‘I didn’t want to be with you anymore.’ I had enough.”

What Simeus didn’t know is that her ex moved out of the home two weeks earlier and his younger 14-year-old brother moved into his old bedroom.

He was home alone in the living room at the time of the incident and was uninjured.

Simeus faces charges of first-degree arson, weapon offense (missile into a dwelling), and damaging property ($1,000 or more).

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