Lorain Fire Dept. reopening fire investigations involving Elyria arson suspect

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 23:20:46-05

On Monday Lorain fire officials reopened “multiple” investigations involving Trista Mussell, who Elyria police said admitted to setting fire to her apartment building last week because it was dirty. 

Lorain Fire Marshal & Asst. Fire Chief Matt Homolya told News 5 that his team is currently investigator a series of fires connected to Trista Mussell, 32, that date back as early as 2011. 

Mussell was charged with aggravated arson after police say she intentionally set fire to her building in the 5200 block of West River Road South in Elyria on Jan. 2. She told investigators that she did it because the apartment was “filthy and there were cockroaches.”

All four units in the building were damaged and all of the tenants were displaced. 

Neighbors noted that the story is shockingly similar to a fire at Mussell’s former apartment building in the 1100 block of W. Erie Ave. in Lorain on July 4. Residents tell News 5 that Mussell was seen fleeing the building with her children and returned after fire crews arrived. 

“She showed up right when the fire was being put out and didn’t act surprised or anything,” said her Lorain neighbor Chris Dobias. “She kind of chuckled about it.” 

In this case, all four tenants were also displaced and the building sits vacant six months later. 

Fire Marshal Homolya would said the July case and others are now being reopened to see if there is evidence of arson.  


Mussell’s bond was set at $100,000 at her hearing on Jan. 5 and a no contact order was put in place for two residents of her Elyria apartment.