Woman facing charges in Chestnut Apartments fire

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – One year ago on Friday, firefighters responded to a fire at the Chestnut Apartments in Mantorville. That fire claimed one life and destroyed the building, and a former resident is now facing charges in connection to the fire.

Annette Phillips, 69, is facing a total of eight charges including 2nd-degree manslaughter in connection to the death of 68-year-old Cynthia Ferguson, along with negligent fire and smoking in public.

She pleaded not guilty to all of the charges back in November and in early January the judge ordered a competency evaluation.

At the time of the fire, Phillips lived at the apartment complex and according to court documents, admitted to another tenant that a cigarette had started the fire.

Court documents also state that Phillips was known to smoke inside the building and had been warned in the past about it.

Surveillance video from the complex showed Phillips the day of the fire coming out of her apartment, yelling for help, and then sitting in the lobby near the door. But court documents note she did not pull the fire alarm or alert any resident about the fire.

She had a court hearing on Friday. Attorneys asked for a second mental health evaluation of Phillips.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the case due to the ongoing investigation.