Mother Charged in Feb. Fire That Burned Her, Her Kids at Their NH Home

The woman allegedly shouted a series of bizarre statements at the firefighters who came to rescue them

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A New Hampshire mother is now accused of setting a fire at her home that injured her and her children this February, with court documents painting a bizarre picture of the incident. 

Authorities believe the woman, now accused of arson and child endangerment, may have been suffering a mental health crisis. Mary Corliss, of Webster, was involved in a series of strange encounters as the fire broke out and was battled Feb. 24, according to court documents. 



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A witness who saw smoke and called in the fire told investigators she saw Corliss in an upstairs window, according to the documents: “Smoke was coming out of both windows and there were bloodstains on the clapboards below the windows. (The witness) called out to Corliss but she did not reply.”

Once firefighters got a ladder up to the windows and got inside, they found Corliss and her two children, ages 9 and 4, in a burning room that appeared to have been barricaded shut, the documents said. Corliss allegedly shouted a series of bizarre statements at them including, “Get the [expletive] away from me. I’ve had wormwood. You’ll all die,” and, “You’ll die if you eat me!”

The woman and her children were rescued from a window thanks to first responders on ladders and taken to Concord Hospital, then Massachusetts General Hospital, state fire officials said at the time. They were burned but will be okay; the children have been taken away from her and she was released on her own recognizance, authorities said.

Corliss' attorney, contacted by NBC10 Boston, wouldn't get into the details but said the case still must go to a grand jury and that a lot could change by then. 

Investigators said Corliss’ family told them she was a follower of QAnon conspiracy theories, and when investigators spoke to her, “She also admitted to having used turpentine to ward off COVID-19. She explained that she took it about three times a week since January (2021) and that she took 5ml each time.”

They asked if she thought that might have poisoned her and made her believe things that weren’t real and she replied, “possibly,” but did not remember setting the fire, according to the documents.

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