Man upset over recent divorce sets fire to house in Santa Ana, police say

- A 35-year-old man was in custody Friday on suspicion of setting a non-injury fire that destroyed a home in Santa Ana, displacing eight people, and damaged another -- apparently out of rage over a recent divorce, authorities said.

The fire was reported about 7:50 p.m. Thursday at a two-story single-family home in the 1000 block of West Washington Avenue, said Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority. The intense blaze forced firefighters into a defensive posture, battling the flames from outside the structure, said Kurtz, adding there were no injuries.

 

Before the fire broke out, officers responded to a family disturbance call from the house pertaining to a recent divorce, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. When they arrived, the man was inside ``breaking stuff,'' he said.

The man then went to the back of the home and while officers were devising a plan to deal with him, he set the home ablaze and came running outside, where he was taken into custody, Bertagna said.

Flames were visible through every window of the home when firefighters arrived. OCFA crews were assisted by City of Orange firefighters. A total of about 30 firefighters took part in the operation, Kurtz said, adding that the
second home sustained minor damage.

The suspect, whose identity was mot immediately released, is facing two counts of intentional arson.

``The investigation is ongoing but there's enough evidence and witness statements to bring charges against him,'' Kurtz said.

Fire officials were trying to determine what the man used to start the fire, he said.

The American Red Cross was assisting the eight people who were displaced from the home, which was a total loss, Kurtz added.

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