A 47-year-old woman who allegedly started a fire Halloween night inside the Redwood City home of a man who broke up with her was arraigned Friday on arson and burglary charges.

"It's just the anger of being spurned," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. "A way of getting back."

Valerie Demarval had been living with the victim for about six weeks when he asked her to move out because of her drinking problems, according to the District Attorney's Office.

On Oct. 31, just before 6:30 p.m., the man left his Doris Court home after locking it up and setting an alarm, according to information from prosecutors and the Redwood City Police Department.

A few minutes later a neighbor saw Demarval walking away from the house and could see through the window that the dining room drapes were on fire, according to a district attorney's office report. Demarval had reached through the home's cat door to set the drapes on fire, and the neighbor used the same opening to put out the fire with a garden hose, the report states.

Damage to the house was contained to the burned drapes and blackened walls.

On Friday, Demarval pleaded not guilty to two counts of arson and one of burglary. She remains in custody with bail set at $150,000.

Email Bonnie Eslinger at beslinger@dailynewsgroup.com.


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