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Bellingham woman denies setting her own house on fire

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A woman has pleaded not guilty to setting her foreclosed home on fire near Bellingham.

The Bellingham Herald reports that 48-year-old Kathleen Ruth Kooch denied the first-degree arson charge last week in connection with the April 2015 house fire.

Court documents say Kooch’s house had been in foreclosure because she had stopped marking mortgage payments and still owed more than $480,000. The papers say she still continued to pay for insurance on a coverage plan worth more than $1 million.

Investigators had suspected arson based on burn patterns and evidence suggesting it was sparked by matches or a lighter.

A phone call to Kooch’s attorney, Doug Hyldahl, wasn’t immediately returned Monday.

Kooch has no felony record in Washington state, but has a theft case pending against her.