Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa fire investigation finds suicide pact

Nancy Lowe and her 12-year-old daughter set blankets on fire in the garage of their Citrus Park home, authorities said.


Nancy Lowe and her 12-year-old daughter set blankets on fire in the garage of their Citrus Park home, authorities said.

TAMPA — A woman and her daughter remain hospitalized with minor smoke inhalation after setting a fire in their garage as part of an attempted suicide pact, authorities said.

Nancy Lowe, 52, and her 12-year-old daughter, Allison Clark, left several suicide notes behind before lighting a fire in their garage Saturday, Hillsborough County Sheriff Deputies said.

Lowe laid blankets over two cars in the garage at 6603 Timber Brook Court in Citrus Park on Saturday and covered them in gasoline that deputies say her daughter borrowed from a neighbor earlier in the day.

Neighbors playing basketball at the home across the street saw the smoke and rushed over when they heard screams. As they approached the house, the garage door closed, authorities said, trapping Lowe and her daughter inside.

Another neighbor was able to get in and found the two in the laundry room between the garage and the rest of the house.

A black poodle named Shelby was also saved from the home, neighbors said.

The pair were taken to Tampa General Hospital, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the fire at about 3 p.m. Saturday.

At the hospital, investigators learned that Lowe had been battered by her ex-husband, James Clark, 45.

Clark violated a domestic injunction and broke into Lowe's home Thursday night through a side window, according to a police report. He threatened Lowe, telling her "I'm going to bury you and kill you," before punching her and beating her with a metal floor lamp.

Neighbors gathered outside the house Sunday, swapping information as kids tossed a football around in the street. They said cars had driven up and down the dead-end road all day, slowing to look at the damage.

The garage door remained open, exposing two charred vehicles and heavy smoke and fire damage. Scorch marks shot up the top of the house, which was roped off by police caution tape. Pieces of debris, including boxes, insulation and a step stool, littered the yard and driveway.

Neighbors, who did not want to be identified, said Lowe has lived there for about 10 years. Multiple neighbors said they were aware of ongoing violence.

Clark has a record in Florida that includes charges of domestic battery and cyberstalking. He was arrested Saturday and charged with aggravated battery and domestic violence.

Both the mother and daughter are being held under the Baker Act, deputies said.

The Hillsborough County Fire Marshal is investigating.

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at or (813) 661-2443

Tampa fire investigation finds suicide pact 05/25/13 [Last modified: Sunday, May 26, 2013 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  2. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  4. Hernando sheriff: Orlando mother turns in 18-year-old son in pawn shop burglary


    Times Staff Writer

    SPRING HILL — Hernando deputies have arrested a fourth person in connection with a pawn shop burglary, but they really didn't have to do anything to find him.

    Elijah Pickard, 18, of Orlando, was turned in by his own mother in connection with a pawn shop burglary, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office [Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]