Former Branch Manager of Chicago Title Charged with Arson of Her Own Foreclosed Home

fire house

Bellingham woman charged with arson of her own foreclosed home

A former branch manager of Chicago Title in Lynden has pleaded not guilty to the arson of her own home northeast of Bellingham.

The four-bedroom house at 5323 E. 21st Drive caught fire a little after 11 p.m. April 19, 2015, according to charging papers filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. Flames tore through the roof before firefighters could extinguish them.

No one was hurt, but the single-story house and attached garage were total losses.

The house was in foreclosure with a sale date set for June, because the resident, Kathleen Ruth Kooch, 48, had stopped making mortgage payments, charging papers say. She still owed more than $480,000. Kooch kept paying for insurance, however, on a coverage plan worth more than $1 million.

Hours after the fire Kooch met investigators, with finished insurance documents. She said she’d already made a claim with her insurance company, according to the charges.

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