Woman claims she was doused with accelerant, apartment set fire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Woman claims she was doused with accelerant, apartment set fire

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Mark Hensley (Source: Christopher PD) Mark Hensley (Source: Christopher PD)
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CHRISTOPHER, IL (KFVS) -

Police say a man faces arson and other charges after reportedly dousing his wife with an accelerant and setting fire to an apartment building.

According to Public Information Officer Ben Burkhamer with Christopher Police, it happened around 2 Saturday morning in the 200 block of Market Street.

An investigation continued Sunday.

Police say Mark Hensley, 37, of Sesser, allegedly broke into the upstairs apartment and assaulted his estranged wife, and then used a flammable liquid to set the place on fire.

"I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. I heard the storage door open. The next thing I know the front door is being kicked down," said Jill Hensley. "There's just a gas can in my face and we went back to the bedroom. And he pointed a knife at me. My son was trying to wrestle him down and I just said please. The next thing I know he's throwing some fuel on me and on the bed. He just lit it on fire and I had flames coming up my legs."

Hensley grabbed her friend's six year old daughter off the couch as she ran for the door. Her 12-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son were right behind her.

Jill had moved into her friend Crystal Cole's apartment on Friday, after filing an order or protection against her husband.

Cole says she had just stepped out for a few moments to meet someone across the street at the S&S Tavern, before Hensley's husband showed up at their apartment.

"He could have killed my daughter or he could have killed his children and his wife," said Cole. "So that's kind of sickening to me to know that somebody I've known for a long time could do that."

The fire also destroyed the Owen's apartment and dog grooming business on the first floor of the building.

"He destroyed not only that, but he almost destroyed our lives because we were asleep," said David Owens of Christopher. "We wouldn't have even known the place was on fire. We wouldn't have known if the woman hadn't screamed. We wouldn't have heard anything."

Mark Hensley was put behind bars in the Franklin County Jail.

Police say he's facing numerous felony charges in connection to the alleged assault and arson in Christopher, and his bond is now set at $1 million.

The Franklin County State's Attorney says he could be filing charges in the case as early as Tuesday, once he has all the investigative reports from police.

No one was injured in the fire.

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