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Mother accused of setting house on fire with 3 children inside

The father was arrested on a charge of domestic abuse.
Posted at 1:53 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 01:51:47-05

JENNINGS — A Jennings woman is facing an aggravated arson charge after she allegedly set her home on fire with her kids inside.

Firefighters with the Jennings Fire Department responded to the house fire in the 100 block of South McFarlain Street just after 9 p.m. on Monday.

Before firefighters and police arrived on scene, nearby neighbors took notice.

"I was playing my game, and I looked out the window, and I saw that the house was on fire," explained Marquel Gordon. "Then, I went outside, and then I was hollering for people to see if they were in there."

According to a spokesperson for the State Fire Marshal, Mandy Rochelle, 31, intentionally set different parts of the house on fire after an argument with her estranged husband, 37-year-old Wilbert Rochelle, Jr.

Investigators say Wilbert was not inside the house when the fire started, but the couple's three children, ages 12, 9 and 6, were.

Marquel said, "What was going through my head is 'Are they okay?' 'Is anyone up in there?'"

Neighbors say once outside, the mother crossed the street before passing out. They say she was later taken away in an ambulance to get checked out by medical personnel.

"Their Dad got taken away by the police, and then the kids got taken by their grandmother," said Marquel.

No one was injured.

Wilbert was later arrested by the Jennings Police Department on a charge of domestic abuse aggravated assault.

Marquel says there is a valuable lesson.

"Be safe. Make sure y'all don't do nothing like that, and make sure when something happens, y'all call the police."