Man allegedly sets girlfriend on fire at Pierce County home

Staff writerMay 6, 2014 

UPDATE as of 3:20 p.m. Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said arson detectives believe the second fire did happen when the first fire rekindled itself. "We're not looking for anybody else," he said.

Central Pierce Fire and Rescue spokesman Ed Hrivnak said investigators were still looking into the cause of the second blaze.

“The investigation is not done, but it’s leaning toward rekindled, which is unfortunate,” Hrivnak said. “We’re certainly going to be looking at our policies and procedures on how we do things, with this.”

He said crews were called back to the scene, since workers at the site when the second fire started weren’t equipped to fight the blaze.

“There was a deputy fire marshal on scene at the time this occurred,” Hrivnak said. “There were some Pierce County detectives on scene, but they were not technically fire watch, they were processing evidence.”

INITIAL POST: A 34-year-old South Hill woman is in critical condition after her boyfriend allegedly lit her on fire and burned down their mobile home.

Neighbors in the Hidden Glen Mobile Park in the 7600 block of 159th Street East called 911 about 7:45 p.m. Monday to report the blaze.

Crystal Hansen, who lives nearby, said the woman came running out of her home on fire screaming for help. Her husband used a garden hose to put out the flames and they wrapped her in a towel.

“I was just trying to help her,” Guillermo Ponce said.

Central Pierce firefighters arrived and put out the fire within 10 minutes. They took the woman to Harborview Medical Center, where she remains in critical condition with burns over most of her body.

Lakewood police spotted the 39-year-old boyfriend shortly after the fire and pulled over his pickup truck. He allegedly fought with officers and kicked police dog Koda in the mouth before Koda and his handler took him into custody, Troyer said.

It’s unclear what the couple was arguing about but Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said the boyfriend assaulted the woman and doused her gasoline. He then used a lighter to ignite her but also burned himself in the process.

He fled before help arrived.

A second fire gutted the mobile home about 11 p.m. but the cause of that fire has not yet been determined. It is being investigated as a separate fire, not one that rekindled from the earlier blaze, Central Pierce spokesman Ed Hrivnak said.

Neighbors said the couple moved in about six months ago and mostly kept to themselves.

Staff writer Alison Haywood contributed to this report.

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