At that moment, an off duty firefighter happened upon the scene and is now being hailed a hero.
Apparently the woman targeted this neighborhood with misguided vengeance for days.
Accusations of rape and murder cover a drive-way along Mill Valley's Panoramic Drive.
"She seemed very distraught with whatever was happening. There was a lot of emotion, a lot of screaming a lot of yelling," Marin County Fire Department Capt. Graham Groneman said.
Groneman drove into a chaotic scene on his way to get a morning coffee. "My instincts were to figure out what was going on," he said.
A woman who lives in the neighborhood had just confronted the vandal who was spray painting.
The fight spilled into the street. "As I approached the women, I could smell lighter fluid, I could determine that there was something else going on," he said.
Marin County sheriff investigators say Nai Saelor, 23, sprayed the neighbor with lighter fluid while she held a lighter.
"At this point we are pursuing charges of attempted murder against her," Lt. Doug Pittman said.
Simultaneously, the people who live at the base of the driveway extinguished an arson fire unaware of the scene nearby.
"The house and the people that she literally attacked today aren't associated with the person that she feels that she's targeting her anger against," Pittman said.
That person is named Greg Adams who appears to be safe.
While he knows Saelor, investigators don't know why she's fixated on him.
Adams no longer lives in the area, yet detectives think Saelor is responsible for several other arsons along Panoramic.
"It's involves bottles of accelerant being left in and around buildings and bush and vegetation, obviously with the intention of starting some type of fire," Pittman said.
The timing of this morning's confrontation is what it finally took to identify a suspect.
"And anytime that your public safety people can live in the community they work in it's a good thing, so definitely was happy that I was in the right place at the right time," Groneman said.