She tried lighting a Molotov cocktail — next to a California preschool, video shows

It could have been a fiery, explosive scene.

But luckily, the woman who brought a Molotov cocktail to a Union City, California, preschool was unsuccessful in igniting the improvised explosive, according to police.

After her arson attempt failed on Nov. 27, 2017, she went to her backup plan: The woman pulled out the wick that was in the bottle, shattered a glass door and tossed the bottle into the preschool, surveillance video shows.

Local police released the surveillance camera footage and photos of the November incident last week after an arsonist successfully lit a damaging fire at a nearby preschool in May. Authorities hoped footage from the earlier incident might help identify an attempted arsonist in both.

Union City police

And it worked — at least for the Union City arson incident, police announced Thursday.

Union City resident Kristina Romo, 39, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted arson following a tip from an anonymous community member who saw the video, police said.

That tip led police to speak with Romo at her home, and soon they had enough evidence to arrest her in connection with the attempted arson, police said. Court documents obtained by the East Bay Times said Romo told authorities she believed the preschool was “hiding children under the property.”

The first incident happened just after Thanksgiving at Safari Kid, a preschool and daycare in Union City east of San Francisco Bay.

But it wasn’t until a fire broke out at another Safari Kid daycare — this location in nearby Newark — on the afternoon of May 26 that the video was released. During the major fire at the second preschool, Newark police went to help Alameda County fire officials investigate and eventually discovered it was set intentionally.

Just like the previous incident, the more recent fire occurred over a long weekend; in this case, Memorial Day. No one was at either preschool when the incidents occurred, KTVU reports.

Now detectives are working to see if they can connect the dots between the two incidents.

“We know for sure she was involved in the Union City one,” said Lt. Steve Mendez, a spokesman for Union City police. “Newark is investigating to see if she’s involved in the other.”

Authorities in both cities are still investigating possible motives, too.

“As far as [Union City] is concerned, our detectives interviewed her and the motive wasn’t really clear,” Mendez said.

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