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Police: Woman Sets Home On Fire, Threatens Suicide

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) -- Apple Valley officials are investigating after a woman allegedly poured gasoline inside her Apple Valley home, lit it on fire and threatened to kill herself.

The Apple Valley Police Department and Apple Valley Fire Department responded to the residence around 9:15 a.m., at 4754 142nd St. W., after receiving a call from a neighbor that the home was on fire.

Kathy Paneinh lives across the street and watched in disbelief.

"I'm just shocked," she said. "We've been here 14 years and never seen anything like this happen."

Two Apple Valley police officers arrived to find flames coming out of the back of the home and a woman locked in a vehicle outside the house. Police say she was stabbing herself in the chest with a screwdriver.

As a sergeant arrived, the woman, later identified as Rhonda Arkley, 49, fled the scene in her vehicle.

Rhonda Arkley, 2005 Mug Shot
Rhonda Arkley, from a 2005 arrest for domestic assault. (credit: CBS)

Police officers deployed road spikes on Pilot Knob Road at Cliff Road, which flattened her tires and stopped her vehicle.

As officers ran up to the vehicle, Arkley was using a hammer to pound screwdriver into her chest. Officers took her into custody and administered first aid.

She was later transported to Regions Hospital to be treated for self-inflicted stab wounds and burns.

Her husband, Stuart Arkley, 49, was also in the residence at the time of the fire. He ran to the neighbor's home when the house went up in flames and was also transported to Regions Hospital for burn treatment.

The incident is currently under investigation.

On Nov. 17, police were called to the residence to investigate the death of Arkley's 22-year-old son, who was found dead in his bedroom. There were no obvious signs of trauma, according to police.

That incident is also still under investigation.

WCCO-TV's Bill Hudson Reports

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