Woman dies in fire started by person she helped, family says. ‘Careful who you trust’

A Texas homeowner was killed in a fire intentionally started by a woman she was allowing to live with her, according to investigators.

When firefighters and police responded to the La Porte home on Monday, April 22, it was engulfed by fire, KHOU reported. Connie Fortune, who was in her early 70s, was asleep when the blaze erupted at 7 a.m., trapping her inside, officials said.

Neighbors tried to bust open a window to get to her but were unable to get through, the station reported. Firefighters also couldn’t reach Fortune, and she died inside the burning house.

Connie Fortune’s home in La Porte, Texas.
Connie Fortune’s home in La Porte, Texas.

A neighbor reported seeing 34-year-old Sarah Leanne Flores around the time the fire began, and when investigators spoke with her, she admitted to purposefully igniting the blaze, the La Porte Police Department said in an email to McClatchy News.

However, Flores did not provide a motive, police said.

Fortune “allowed people to stay at her house as live-in workers,” police said, and Flores was one such person. She did landscaping work, police added.

There was also a caregiver living at the home who ran outside to escape the fire, according to the department.

Fortune ran a local food pantry and worked with Alcoholics Anonymous for years in honor of her late husband, Fortune’s son, Tony Felscher, told KTRK. She often took in people trying to get clean from substance abuse and addiction, but Fortune’s relationship with Flores became increasingly tense as a result of alleged methamphetamine use on the part of Flores — and she didn’t want her at the home any more.

“I can’t believe my mother’s kindness was the thing that got her killed,” Felscher said.

“It is heart-wrenching, but it is the lesson to be learned right now,” friend Lorie Falkenroth told the station. “Be careful who you trust.”

Court records show Flores was arrested the day of the fire on a charge of murder.

The La Porte Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating and may soon present arson charges against Flores to the district attorney’s office, according to police.

La Porte is a roughly 25-mile drive southeast of downtown Houston.

Boy wakes to find parents, 3 siblings dead in murder-suicide, OK cops say. ‘A massacre’

Missing woman found dead in vacant building, family says. ‘Drove past her every day’

Cop accused of raping baby girl tried blaming dog for her injuries, PA officials say

18-year-old clinging to vehicle falls and dies during game of tag, Ohio police say