Babysitter arrested on arson charges

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin authorities say a 57-year-old babysitter intentionally set a man’s house on fire while watching his twin 5-year-old boys.

Fire department investigators charged Martha Carolyn Dreher with felony first-degree arson on Thursday in connection to the Aug. 9 fire.

Investigators say Dreher typically took care of the man’s preteen daughters. They were on vacation with their dad during the incident.

Investigators say Dreher was watching the boys elsewhere but told them she needed to stop by the house to “grab popcorn.” They say the fire was set on one of the girl’s beds in the 30 minutes Dreher was inside. The boys were in Dreher’s car at the time and were unharmed. The extent of the damage is unclear.

She posted bond Thursday. Online jail records didn’t indicate an attorney. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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