The Bizarre World of Florida

Man sets home ablaze after niece refused booze run March 2, 2015

After being spurned by his niece for a ride to the liquor store, a Boynton Beach man decided he should burn something: his house, according to authorities.

fireOn Dec. 14, Clemons — who had already been drinking — asked his niece for a ride to the liquor store, according to a report from the agency. She told investigators she told him “No” and they got into an argument. To avoid further confrontation, the woman said she left the house.

Not long afterward, Clemons’ brother arrived at the house. He told investigators Clemons was standing out on the porch mumbling to himself about being “tired of it all,” according to the report.

His brother started making dinner and went out to see if Clemons was OK. Then, he saw a huge flame burning at the northeast corner of the house.
Clemons’ brother was able to extinguish the fire with a hose. Officials said the structural damage was minimal, but a garbage container and an all-terrain vehicle were slightly damaged.

Boynton Beach fire officials later found Clemons walking down the street with a large burn on his forearm.

Investigators determined Clemons poured gasoline against the wall outside and on the all-terrain vehicle and lit the fire while his brother was inside.

Clemons had left the hospital before Boynton Beach police were able to detain him.

He is charged with arson and is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail without bail.


A mother’s burning love: Mom stole son’s car, set it ablaze January 23, 2015

A West Palm Beach woman stole her son’s car and set it on fire in order to free him from the financial burden it was causing him, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

fl-west-palm-beach-mom-car-arson-20150122-001Deputies said they found a burned vehicle in the 24500 block of State Road 80, near Wellington, in August and determined the car had been set on fire. The next day, the car’s owner reported it stolen and police told him it had been destroyed.

He told them he had returned from a trip to Orlando and noticed his car was missing, according to the arrest report.

About three weeks later, the man came back to deputies and said he had figured out who had burned his car: his mom, Evangelista.

He said sometimes his mom would take his car and use it, according to the report, and recently she had told him that she was the one who burned the car. He told deputies she wanted to ease his financial responsibilities by burning it, according to the report.

She told deputies she doused the car in gasoline and ignited it using a grill lighter. She chose the secluded spot off the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuse as a good spot to get rid of it because no one was around.

Evangelista is charged with arson. She was released from the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday on $3,000 bail.


Tattooed-face man used beer bottles, gasoline to start fires December 30, 2014

A 30-year-old man with a heavily-tattooed face was arrested last week after he admitted to using homemade devices to start fires in burn barrels in Orange County, officials said.

jeffrey-mark-jalinski-jpg-20141229Jeffrey Mark Jalinski of Orlando was charged with possession or discharging a destructive device.

He has since bonded out of Orange County Jail.

Orange County deputies and SWAT served a search warrant at a motor home on Rose Boulevard — near Orange Blossom Trail and West Oak Ridge Road — around 9:15 a.m. Dec. 22.

The officials went to the home, where Jalinski lives, looking for drugs, according to court documents.

When they arrived, they found Jalinski inside the motor home with three beer bottles containing possible gasoline and a rag stuck in the neck of each bottle.

Jalinski told the deputies that the bottles belonged to him.

He also said the fluid inside each bottle was gasoline, which “he used the rags to start fires in burn barrels,” an arrest report said.


Man accused firebombing boss’ truck December 15, 2014

A Bradenton man has been indicted on federal charges, including arson, after allegedly admitting to setting fire to his boss’ truck.

sfl-flduh-firebombing-boss-truck-20141211-001Henry Howard, 47, of Bradenton, faces federal charges, including arson, after allegedly admitting to setting fire to his employer’s truck.

Henry Blain Howard, 47, has been formally charged with arson, possessing an unregistered destructive device, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, according to United States Attorney’s Office.

The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office responded on June 20 to a firebombing in the parking lot of Days Inn, 3506 First St. W., Bradenton, after a 2006 Dodge truck was damaged.

Surveillance footage showed a male driver of a vehicle parked nearby approached the truck then returned to his vehicle and drove away. The truck then exploded in flames, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators spoke in October with Howard’s girlfriend, who said she was with Howard in the hotel parking lot and watched him set fire to the truck by placing a molotov cocktail — a combination of a plastic bottle, gasoline and cloth wick — in the wheel well.

When the pulled away, the woman said she heard a “boom” and saw fire and smoke, according to the complaint.

When investigators spoke with Howard at the Manatee County Jail, Howard said the firebombed truck belonged to his employer and that his vehicle was the one parked nearby.

Howard said he was at the hotel to purchase methamphetamine. He said he left $100 on top of the truck’s front tire, where drugs had been left for him.

Investigators asked if he set fire to the truck.

“I am not saying I did, and I am not saying I didn’t, because I was high on meth at the time,” Howard said, according to the complaint.

In a recorded jail phone call, Howard is heard saying: “That b—- helped me light the f—— fuse. We set fire to the truck,” the complaint states.

Howard’s brother told investigators on Oct. 15 that Howard wanted to speak with them.

Howard reportedly admitted to setting fire to his employer’s truck.

He also admitted to having his wife buy him a gun and buying a gun from a private party.

Howard has previously been convicted of armed robbery, principal to robbery with a firearm and robbery. Convicted felons are prohibited from owning firearms.

If Howard is convicted of the four charges for which he has been indicted, he faces up to 50 years in federal prison.

This arson case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Assistant United State Attorney Carlton Gammons is prosecuting the case.


Ooh that smell: Fire unmasks pot-growing operation December 8, 2014

Filed under: Bad Luck,Controversy,Drugs,Fire,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:44 pm

A pot grow house was found in Deltona on Wednesday after a fire, leading to charges against a resident who told deputies they discovered his stash, officials said today.


The fire on Kingway Drive, which left significant damage, was first reported at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Francisco “Franky” L. Quintana Jr., 40, told investigators the marijuana was for his personal use, agency spokesman Andrew Gant said.

“In all, investigators seized about 1,122 grams of cannabis plant buds and clippings, 27 plants in various stages of growth and various pieces of drug paraphernalia – like glass jars containing marijuana and a digital scale,” Gant said in a statement.

Two rooms were converted into growing areas, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Quintana was charged with manufacturing in cannabis, possession of cannabis over 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia and taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.
The Sheriff’s Office on Thursday released pictures of what investigators found inside the home.

One shows a black-fabric tent found in the master bedroom closet. It had a grow light and 18 plants inside.

“They ranged in size from 2 inches to 12 inches,” Gant said said. “In the master bathroom, they found several bottles of chemicals used for growing marijuana.”

Since 2010, authorities in Central Florida have busted more than 700 marijuana grow houses, confiscating more than 30,000 cannabis plants.

The largest hauls came from Orange and Volusia, where more than 6,000 plants were confiscated in each county since 2010.


Protip: Never use gasoline to start bonfires November 17, 2014

Filed under: Bad Luck,Controversy,Dumb,Fire,Sad Story,Scary,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:35 pm

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: running to the sounds of an explosion, knowing their child is nearby.

635516733767630009-Still1115-00001That’s exactly what happened to one Polk County family as a can of gasoline exploded next to their 12-year-old daughter.

Today in Lakeland, dozens of volunteers soaked up and sprayed down cars to help raise money for Heather Tyer.

“She’s strong, she’s gonna be just fine,” Heather’s aunt Amanda Tyler told 10 News.

Less than a week ago her niece suffered burns over 70 percent of her body after the small gasoline tank she was standing next to exploded. She and her family were having a pit fire at her home. The gas was used to light the logs.

“Burn patients are so difficult from one minute to the next. you know, they can seem fine, and then things can go terribly wrong very quickly,” said Polk County Fire Lieutenant Charles Irving.

Polk County girl had over 71 percent of her body burned

He was first on the scene, even rushing back to pick up Heather’s mother Amy to get her on the emergency helicopter flight to Tampa General.

Janice Anderson said she saw that helicopter heading to help.

“Knowing the love that you have with your child, it’s more than any love,” she said.

And when Anderson saw how many volunteers came out today, “it just gives me goosebumps,” she said.

And rightly so. In less than a week, friends, family and complete strangers raised more than $30,000 dollars to get Heather back and get her better.

But a warning from Lt. Irving, “gasoline is obviously not one of the better fuels to use. It flashes,” he said. “There has to be water on the site at all times, and someone attending to the fire at all times. And if we do that, tragedies like this can be avoided.


Love thy neighbor … Woman tried to torch neighbor’s apartment November 4, 2014

Filed under: Bad Temper,Bizzarre,Controversy,Dangerous Nut,Dumb,Fight,Fire,Florida Nut,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:11 pm

Jail after she allegedly attempted to burn down her neighbor’s apartment.

sfl-flduh-torch-apartment-20141103-001The trouble began early Saturday morning when Jasmine Nequeshia Walker got into an argument with her boyfriend at their home on the 1000 block of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. The boyfriend left after the argument and Walker responded by throwing his clothing outside the apartment onto the ground.

A next-door neighbor, who is friendly with the boyfriend, picked up the clothes and placed them on a couch inside his apartment for safekeeping. The neighbor then stepped outside and saw Walker grab a can of lighter fluid and approach the neighbor’s apartment, the report said.

Despite warnings by the neighbor not to go inside his apartment, Walker allegedly entered and poured the lighter fluid on the clothing. She tried to set the clothing on fire but her lighter did not work, the report said. Walker left the apartment in search of another lighter, allowing the neighbor to close the front door and lock it.

While he was on the phone to police, Walker allegedly set a fire to the front window of her neighbor’s apartment. The neighbor used a fire extinguisher to douse the fire.

Asked by West Palm Beach police if she attempted to torch her boyfriend’s belongings, Walker responded: “I have damaged his property in the past by pouring bleach on it when we lived on 14th Street.” She refused to answer further questions.

Walker, 24, is facing charges of unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling, first-degree arson with people present and criminal mischief resulting in property damage. She is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.



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