Before arrest, Pinellas Park woman sets apartment fire


Pinellas Park Police have identified the woman they say set a fire at an apartment shortly before she was arrested.


Police said 44 year-old Barbie Winstead lit the fire at the apartment on 40th St. N. shortly before 2 am.


Neighbors said they heard her knocking loudly on a door just a few doors down.


"Yeah, I woke up several times. She was beating on the door, screaming, ‘If you don't let me in, you'll be sorry,'" said a neighbor who would only identify himself as Roger.


Police say they were called to the apartment because a caller said a woman was inside destroying the apartment and causing a domestic disturbance.


When they showed up, they say she lit a couch on fire, and the flames spread fast.


Roger says he went back to bed after the initial commotion, but the next time he was awake, it was a completely different scene.


"The police woke me up, and I walked out of this apartment, and there were like 10-foot flames that were blasting out of that doorway," he said.


Pinellas Park PD called the fire department who had a hard time fighting the fast-spreading fire which completely gutted the apartment and inflicted smoke damage on several others.


Winstead was arrested on charges for an outstanding warrant but is now sitting in the Pinellas County jail facing charges of felony arson and battery on a law enforcement officer.


Winstead's criminal history includes at least several other instances of attacking law enforcement officers.


Seven adults were displaced by the fire and Roger says the Red Cross is taking care of them at a local hotel.


"I'm just grateful that nobody got hurt. It's dangerous. It's crazy," Roger said.

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