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Woman pleads not guilty to setting Freeman home ablaze

Firefighters work the scene of a house fire Monday afternoon south of Freeman. (Photo courtesy of the Freeman Courier)

FREEMAN — A Freeman woman who allegedly burned down her father's home pleaded not guilty Monday at the Hutchinson County Courthouse.

Joslynn Rabb, 27, pleaded not guilty to the charge of reckless burning or exploding. A status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29.

According to court documents, at 11:06 a.m. on Nov. 20, Freeman firefighters responded to a structure fire at a residence located at 28237 U.S. Highway 81, a few miles south of Freeman. When law enforcement arrived they made contact with Rabb, who allegedly said she started a fire in the basement and upstairs of the house using a Bic lighter. Rabb stated she started the fire because she was mad at someone. Law enforcement reported the sweatshirt Rabb was wearing had several burn marks on it.

The residence is owned by Rabb's father, John, who was not present at the time of the fire. Rabb had moved in with her father recently, court documents state. The residence was a complete loss, according to authorities. Rabb was arrested and taken into custody with bond set at $10,000.

The Freeman Fire Department, Freeman Ambulance, Menno Fire Department, Menno Police Department and Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office responded to the fire, which took more than five hours extinguish.

Reckless burning or exploding is a Class 4 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.