Metro-East News

‘Eleven people could have been killed,’ Swansea chief says as pair charged with arson

Two people in Swansea are accused of setting fire to a house while 11 people, including five children and an infant, were inside on Saturday night.

Alissa S. Spears, 18, and Deandre C Jackson, 18, were charged with arson in connection with the fire.

Spears and Jackson set fire to the house at 1400 N. Second St. at about 9:15 p.m., Swansea police chief Steve Johnson wrote in a press release.

“Eleven people could have been killed in this fire, including children and an infant,” Johnson wrote. “A neighbor called and saved all these people by alerting them to the fire set by Jackson. The Swansea Fire Department responded quickly and did an amazing job saving the building and helping people.”

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Alissa Spears and Deandre Jackson were charged with arson and resisting arrest.

Fire and police were dispatched to the fire where heavy smoke and flames were coming out of the side of the house, according to police.

Eleven people were inside the house. Six were children, four of which were under the age of four and one of which was a two-week old baby.

Everyone inside made it out of the house uninjured, police said.

Spears was arrested and taken to the Swansea Police Department, but Jackson had already fled the scene.

After a short search, a Fairview Heights police officer found and arrested Jackson. Both Jackson and Spears resisted arrest while at the Swansea Police Department, according to the release.

Jackson was taken to Belleville Memorial Hospital to be treated for burns he received while lighting the fire and then both Jackson and Spears were taken to St. Clair County Jail, the press release states.

Both were charged with arson and resisting arrest. Their bails were set at $500,000.

“Swansea Police Sgt. Jason Frank, and officers, worked a chaotic scene with people resisting arrest,” Johnson said in the release. “Fairview Police provided mutual aid and arrested Jackson near Mel Price Park. The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office assisted with interviews and the entire investigation. This was a total team effort of citizens saving lives and multiple entities working together.”

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6