Suspect in Wilmington firefighter deaths headed to trial

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The woman accused of setting fire to a home that claimed the lives of two Wilmington firefighters will go to trial.

The woman accused of setting fire to a home that claimed the lives of two Wilmington firefighters last month will go to trial.

Beatriz Fana-Ruiz appeared for a preliminary hearing on Friday, and a detective testified that the suspect confessed to committing the crime.



According to investigators she admitted on numerous occasions to starting the fire, and that she had be drinking and on anxiety medication at the time.

It was the first time we heard testimony from investigators who arrested and charged Fana-Ruiz, 28, for the fire that killed Captain Christopher Leach and Lt. Jerry Fickes last month.

On the stand, the Wilmington Fire Department's chief investigators said that Fana-Ruiz was seen by two witnesses going in and out of the basement of her Lakeview home around 2 am.

The fire reportedly started in the basement.


He adds after a second round of questioning with Fana-Ruiz confessed to starting it.

It was stated she even took investigators through a walkthrough of how she lit a piece of paper on fire and put it inside a toy dollhouse.

Today Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode didn't comment on investigation specifics.

"This is going to be a long journey that we'll be on," he said.

But he asked you keep fire fighter Ardythe Hope and Brad Speakman in mind. We heard in court that both suffered from burns to large portions of their bodies and are still in the hospital.

"Lauren Speakman, Brad's wife, and Ardy Hope's family, Simone Cummings and her mother, they're holding strong. They're doing a great job trying to hold things together," said Goode.

Fana-Ruiz's attorney says they're working on building a case, but wouldn't specify details.

"There's a lot to learn about what happened. We just began learning about it today and it's a long process and I think the full story will come out in court overtime," said defense attorney Kevin O'Connell.

As it stands Fana Ruiz is charged with two counts of first degree murder, four counts of assault, seven counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of arson.
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