Man allegedly set girlfriend on fire in South Hill mobile home

Originally published online in The News Tribune May 6, 2014

By Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer

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.

A South Hill mobile home was gutted Monday, May 5, 2014, after a man allegedly lit his girlfriend on fire inside. Photo by Alison Haywood.

A South Hill mobile home was gutted Monday, May 5, 2014, after a man allegedly lit his girlfriend on fire inside. Photo by Alison Haywood.

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 a police dog before being taken into custody.

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.

This article and photo appeared on the TNT home page May 6, 2014. It was the most popular story online for a while.

This article and photo appeared on the TNT home page May 6, 2014. It was the most popular story online for a while.

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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