FRONT ROYAL – The Jan. 30 fire at the Royal Hills Apartments that resulted in the death of Jennifer Lee Roberts, 51, is being investigated as a possible arson, according to court records.
A Feb. 4 affidavit for a search warrant by Front Royal Police Det. David Fogle states that the incident is being investigated as a “possible arson.” He states that Roberts visited Warren Memorial Hospital within two days prior to the fire and complained “of toxins or sedating substances coming from her heat vent. A search warrant was granted Feb. 5 for the hospital’s medical records regarding that visit.
Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico stated in an email that fire and rescue units responded to Roberts’ apartment the day before the fire and found “normal conditions” and no safety hazards to the apartment or complex. He added that the full details of that visit were part of the fire and death investigation.
The fire occurred about 7:30 a.m., causing an estimated $500,000 in damages. It left 10 families displaced.
Fogle said over the phone that the department is investigating arson as a possible cause of the fire, but is also investigating other possible causes.
“We look at everything, but that is one of them that we are looking at because at this point in time we are not looking to rule anything out,” he said.
Fogle said that the department does not want to release much information regarding the investigation because officers are still attempting to “tie up some loose ends.”
He said the department would likely put out a news release regarding the fire in the next few days.
Jennifer Starkey, the administrator at the state medical examiner’s office in Manassas said the cause and manner of Roberts’ death are pending and may not be known for up to three months.