The Bizarre World of Florida

Man, all fired up, set senior complex on fire February 4, 2014

Tampa Police have arrested a man for arson after a fire broke out at an apartment complex near Tampa.

Kenneth%20Haskins%20Bk%2014004627Firefighters evacuated 28 apartments on Sunday night, but were able to contain the fire to a single apartment at Mar Plaza in Temple Terrace. The complex is an elderly affordable living facility. No injuries were reported.

The upstairs unit where the fire began sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage.

During the investigation, police say 58-year-old Kenneth Haskins, who lives at the facility, made remarks that he had been upset with the property’s management company.

Based on his statements, as well as evidence collected at the scene, police arrested Haskins and charged him with one count of arson.

Investigators tell 10 News Haskins wanted to get back at management after he was told to stop masturbating in front of his open windows and front door.

The assisted living facility is occupied by seniors and disabled people.  Tampa Police say Haskins suffers from severe facial injuries that were a result of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the face several years earlier.
Four families were displaced by the fire and residents of the remaining units were allowed to return home Sunday night.
The American Red Cross is assisting those displaced by the fire.


Quick fire pit etiquette reminder: Roasting marshmallows over the fire = good. Roasting your girlfriend’s daughter’s face over the fire = bad January 24, 2014

52e189dc8074a_preview-300A Bradenton man is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder, after a domestic altercation that left his girlfriend beaten and her adult daughter burned on the face.

It happened just after 10pm Wednesday in the 500 block of 12th Avenue West.

According to the Bradenton Police Department, 25-year-old Brandon Randolph got into an argument with his girlfriend, Detira Coston, during which he punched her in the face several times.

That’s when police say he grabbed a gasoline can.

“He came in here and started pouring gas all through the hallway, and he goes ‘everybody in this m*****f***** gonna burn tonight!’” says Coston.

For the last nine years, she’s been in a relationship with Randolph. But late Wednesday night they got into a domestic dispute and things took a turn for the worse. “He goes up the hallway, opened the door where the kids are sleeping, and throws gas in all the room.”

Coston’s adult daughter Teira and 5 children were in the home. She says she saw Randolph beating her mom and pouring the gasoline. “I went to call the police, he grabbed my phone, so I went outside to use one of the neighbors phone and he grabbed me…and we were tousling and he threw me in the fire and held me there for about a minute or two.”

Teira somehow managed to get away, but not before receiving 2nd degree burns on her face and arms. She also received a gash on her forehead that resulted in her getting several stitches.

Randolph fled the scene but was apprehended early Thursday. “We tracked him down to a residence in Manatee County jurisdiction, and with their assistance we located him and took him into custody,” says Capt. William Fowler with the Bradenton Police Department.

And while Randolph was not known to be a violent person, this isn’t the first time he’s gotten physical with Coston. “In the past nine years, this is the fourth time. But it’s the first time to this extreme.”

When asked why she stayed with him after the pervious altercations, Coston answered: “It’s simply out of love.”

Randolph has been charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Attempted Arson, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Domestic Battery.


Woman jailed on her way to burn down deputy’s house

sfl-flduh-burn-deputys-house-20140123-001 County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Wednesday afternoon the 22nd day of January 2014 at approximately 5:00 PM Sheriff’s Office investigators responded the Madison County Building Inspectors Office concerning a Barbara Tyson calling the building inspector and making threats toward him and an Officer employed with the Sheriff’s Office.

Tyson called again while Investigators were present at the Inspectors office and they too heard the threats she made as she further advised that she was en route to burn the deputy’s home and then going to burn the building inspectors home.

While investigators initiated cell phone tracking to locate the position of Tyson, other officers were assigned to the areas of the residences of threat. Deputy O’Brian located Tyson on Seaboard Street in Lee Florida as she was attempting to locate the Deputy’s residence. Tyson was taken into custody as she continued to make threats of bodily harm against a Sheriff’s Office Deputy.

Barbara Tyson was arrested and charged with the following and additional charges are pending:

Barbara Tyson, B/F, DOB: 12/22/1967 of Chicago Ill. Charged with Attempted Arson


Woman started apartment fire ……… in front of cops January 21, 2014

sfl-flduh-apartment-fire-cops-20140120-001A woman whose behavior prompted a call to police early Monday morning set fire to a couch in front of arriving officers, leading to a blaze that damaged several Pinellas Park apartments, police said.

The strange incident was reported before 2 a.m. at 7685 40th St. N, according to police reports. A caller to 911 reported that a woman was destroying the inside of an apartment at that address.

Officers arrived at the four-unit apartment complex, where they were told that the woman, Barbie Ann Winstead, was in one of the bedrooms, police said. Inside, they told Winstead to come toward them several times before she walked out of the bedroom and tried to move past the officers, police said.

As the officers stopped and detained her, they noticed smoke coming from inside the room, police said. A couch erupted in flames. Officers tried to stop the flames from spreading, but soon the fire raged out of control.

Winstead, 44, was arrested as firefighters were called. She was later booked in the Pinellas County Jail on charges on a charge of first degree arson and failure to appear in court for a previous charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

Records show Winstead was arrested four times within the last year in Pinellas County on charges that included multiple counts of assault and battery on law enforcement officers. She was released from state prison in 2012 following after a yearlong sentence for grand theft and multiple convictions of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence, according to the Department of Corrections.

She was held in jail Monday in lieu of $80,013 bail.

Crews were able to extinguish the blaze, but the resulting smoke left all four apartments uninhabitable, police said. The Red Cross was helping residents find temporary shelter.


Woman accused of torching fiancé’s home December 31, 2013

sfl-flduh-torching-fiances-home-20131230-001A 48-year-old woman who police say was scorned by her fiancé’s request for her to leave his house by New Year’s, remains jailed on charges she deliberately set off a Christmas Day fire in front of her children that gutted the man’s home.

No one – including the woman’s 14-year-old son and family pets – was injured in the fire.

Jill Marie Batchelor, of Rockledge, was charged with first-degree arson and child abuse after Rockledge Police were called to a home at 1044 Bernice Rd., to investigate a disturbance.

Rockledge firefighters were also called out to douse the flames and smoke that spread through the home. “I’m told that nothing was salvageable and that the home was seriously damaged,” said Donna Seyferth, spokeswoman for the Rockledge Police Department.

Police say Batchelor’s boyfriend has told her several days before that she would have to leave the home and find somewhere else to live.

On Christmas morning, the man, ‘left the house to stave off any problems,” Seyferth said. “(Batchelor) refused to speak to investigators.”

Police, however, said Batchelor, identified by the butterfly tattoo on her knee, was at the home about 9 a.m. and was seen by at least one witness lighting matches and throwing them on the floor of the home. Batchelor also stacked up a pile of debris, set them on fire and added debris to the rising flames before it grew out of control, police said. Police are also familiar with Batchelor, Seyferth said.

Batchelor was taken to the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes where she remains under a special watch, records show. She will go before a judge for a first appearance Friday.


Man tried to burn down house — with girlfriend inside September 11, 2013

Looks like one man’s effort to heat up his relationship backfired big time.


A woman woke up late Sunday night to a frightening sight: Her live-in boyfriend was dumping gasoline on the living room couch and then walking into other rooms, pouring gasoline over other furniture  along the way, according to a report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

When the woman ran outside their new Smyrna Beach home, she saw that her Jeep was engulfed in flames, according to the report.

Arriving deputies found the boyfriend, Troy Ladd, standing in the street in front of the house. When they asked him what had happened, Ladd said that he had been in the backyard burning some of his things, then added, “You might as well go ahead and arrest me,” according to the report.

The girlfriend later reportedly told deputies that Ladd had been in their backyard torching his belongings, which included his clothes, TV and a video game system, when she asked him what he was doing.

She also told deputies that she became frustrated after he mumbled something she couldn’t hear so she said to the 49-year-old man, “Why don’t you just kill yourself,” before heading back into the house for some sleep, the report stated.

Although the couple had been going through a rough patch in their relationship, they hadn’t had any recent fights, according to the report.

Luckily, despite the extensive damage to the Jeep and the house, no one was injured.

Authorities said Ladd never tried to wake up his girlfriend  or warn her in any way about the blaze.

Ladd was charged with Attempted Murder, Arson to a Structure Normally Occupied, and Damage to a Structure due to Arson.


Man accused of trying to torch a family alive inside their home August 19, 2013

sfl-flduh-torch-a-family-alive-20130817-001A 24-year old is accused of trying to burn a family alive in their Orange County home.

The fire marshal’s office says Kyle Lee Donaldson lit the fire near Semoran Boulevard and Gatlin Avenue.  Donaldson is behind bars at the Orange County Jail without bond.

The victim says Donaldson was stalking her.

Video shows an arson suspect driving up, crouching behind a neighbor’s truck, and then running away after he allegedly set fire to an Orange County home.

The fire marshal’s office says Donaldson was stalking the girl at the home while she and her parents were inside watching a movie.
The 24-year old man is being charged with three counts of attempted murder.

Eyewitness News stopped by Donaldson’s house to see if family or friends would talk, and found the remains of a car gutted by flames.
Ashley Eubanks said Donaldson stole her car because Donaldson’s friend, Steven Raymond, was fixing it.
“My daughter’s baby pictures were in there,” Eubanks said.

Eubanks drove after Donaldson, but by the time she caught up to him, flames were eating through her car in his driveway.
“Memories that I can never get back are gone now, gone,” Eubanks said.
Raymond said he isn’t convinced Donaldson set the fire, but deputies are.

“The way it was on fire it had to be some sort of an accelerant because the flames were 10 feet high,” Raymond said.
At the house, the victim’s dad was able to put out the flames with a garden hose, then paint over most of the black marks.
Unfortunately, paint won’t do any good for Eubanks.

“I have no car, I have no way to get back and forth to work, my child is in school,” Eubanks said.
Eyewitness News checked Donaldson’s background and found out he’s been charged with several crimes including burglary, grand theft and battery.


Man set fire to Freaky Tiki bar, claimed to rep big beer breweries

sfl-flduh-freaky-tiki-20130818-001A man told Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies he set fire to the Freaky Tiki bar in order to stay “up to code” on fire extinguishers, according to his arrest report.

A deputy noticed a burning smell near the business on Aug. 13 and investigated.

He found 52-year-old William Joseph Eitel of Fort Walton Beach inside and crouched over a fire that was “steadily growing on the floor of the business,” the arrest report stated.

The deputy extinguished the fire.

Eitel told the deputy he was supposed to be in the business because he was sponsored by Budweiser, Yuengling and Miller beers.

Eitel was charged with loitering or prowling.


Debra Louise Daines apparently didn’t like living next door to a partcular neighbor August 12, 2013

sfl-flduh-neighbors-apartment-20130809-001On 08-06-13, units from Hernando County Fire/Rescue and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office responded to a Residential Structure Fire at 7882 Pinehurst Drive in Spring Hill. Upon arrival, units observed grey smoke billowing from the roof.

Once inside, firefighters quickly determined the residence was not occupied and the origin of the fire was suspicious.

The State Fire Marshal was requested to respond to the scene.

Deputies interviewed neighbors to determine if anyone had seen any suspicious persons or vehicles in the area. Deputy Chris Owens interviewed Debra Daines, who lives next door. Daines told Deputy Owens that she had not seen anyone or anything suspicious, but that she had been in the residence at 7882 Pinehurst Drive earlier that day assisting the landlord, John Timmerman, with the fire extinguisher.

Deputy Owens noted in his report that Daines appeared to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, as she was slurring her speech and she had an odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from her breath.

Deputy Owens contacted the landlord who stated that he was at the residence last week, not earlier that day. The landlord went on to say that the resident of the home, Donald Thayer, was currently in jail, and had been for the last three months.

The State Fire Marshal collected samples of charred debris. The debris will be analyzed to see if accelerants were used to start the fire.

On 08-08-13, while conducting an unrelated investigation, Daines advised Deputy Brian Timothy that she set the fire to the residence at 7882 Pinehurst Drive. She was then transported to the District Two Office for interview with the State Fire Marshal’s Office Investigator and Detective Bill Hillman.

Post Miranda, Daines advised that she set the fire by placing a lit wick from a camping lantern under a sleeping bag that was next to the apartment on the back porch. The fire spread from the porch into the kitchen.

Daines stated that she set the fire because she knew that Mr. Thayer was going to be getting out of jail soon, and she did not want him moving back in next door to her.

Debra L. Daines W/F DOB/02-19-1958 (7888 Pinehurst Drive, Spring Hill) was arrested for Arson to an Occupied Dwelling. Her bond was set at $10,000.


Man blocked firefighters from entering burning home. Why?? Well, he had a grow house July 31, 2013

Filed under: Bad Luck,Drugs,Dumb,Fire,Florida Nut,Funny,Unusual,WTF? — floridaduh @ 8:18 pm

On Monday evening, when the St. Petersburg Fire Department arrived to respond to an electrical fire inside a house, they found flames shooting from the home from fire in a locked bedroom and the attic, according to a news release from the St. Petersburg Police Department.

sfl-flduh-extinguish-flames-20130730-001But the home’s resident, Gaetano Rodriguez, who rents the house from his dad, refused to allow firefighters to enter the bedroom to battle the electrical fire, officials said.

The Fire Department workers said they had to forcibly remove the 27-year-old man from the home.

When they broke down the bedroom door, the firefighters found out why they weren’t welcome: There were 75-100 pot plants in the room which housed a pot grow-op, according to police.

Rodriguez’s pot pipe dreams had just gone up in smoke.

Rodriguez initially told cops that he was growing the pot for medicinal use.

Later he ‘fessed up and told them he had intended to sell the pot, according to the Police Department.

He is charged with Obstructing Firefighters and with Cultivation of Marijuana.



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