On June 17th, Laurie Allen-Ellis got the worst call of her life from her estranged husband, Robert Ellis.
“It was six words,” she said.
“I just lit your house on fire.”
Then, Ellis hung up the phone.
Allen-Ellis was at a friend’s when she got the call.
It was after midnight, and she’d gone over for coffee, leaving her 13-year-old twins at home with her seven-year-old.
The kids were in the house sleeping when fire started licking the walls.
Allen-Ellis raced home.
When she got there, a passerby had already got the kids and dog out of the house.
The fire burned the house, an adjacent trailer and a store in Watson Lake.
Allen-Ellis and her family have been in emergency housing ever since.
Ellis was arrested a few hours later.
But on Thursday, the 31-year-old was released on bail.
“I’m so terrified for my life and my children’s lives,” said Allen-Ellis, from Waston Lake on Thursday afternoon.
“I don’t know what to do.”
Allen-Ellis didn’t know her estranged husband was getting out of jail until victim services called to warn her that day.
“The justice system has just let me and my children down,” she said.
Allen-Ellis was with Ellis for 13 years. Their 13-year-old twins are adopted, but the seven-year-old was fathered by him. Three years ago, not long after they officially tied the knot, Ellis started fooling around with other women, she said.
“He was committing adultery and ended up getting another woman, who’s only 18 or 19, pregnant.”
When Allen-Ellis found out, she kicked him out.
But the couple was still trying to run their Watson Lake freight business together.
The afternoon of the fire, they’d just talked about “the divorce, and still trying to be good parents and maybe even friends at the end of it all.”
Then, a few hours later, Ellis set the house on fire.
“This man was my husband,” she said.
“He is supposed to love and protect his family.”
Ellis was charged with “intentionally and recklessly causing fire to a travel trailer and a dwelling.”
Ellis was released on a $2,000 surety and $1,000 bail.
Ellis was released with conditions, including no alcohol or drugs, restricted movement that only allows him to work and carry out the necessities of life, including trips to the bank, doctor and grocery store.
He is not allowed to travel to Watson Lake except for court appearances and is to have no contact with his wife and children.
But this doesn’t appease Allen-Ellis, who’d like to see Ellis in an ankle bracelet that tracks his movement.
“I can’t believe my family’s only worth $3,000,” she said.
Ellis is scheduled to appear in court on September 8th.
Contact Genesee Keevil at