SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A 35-year-old man apparently angry over his wife leaving him was in custody Friday on suspicion of setting a house fire in Santa Ana that displaced eight people, authorities said.
The fire was reported 7:50 p.m. Thursday at a two-story single-family home in the 1000 block of West Washington Avenue, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said. The intense blaze forced firefighters into a defensive posture, battling the flames from outside the structure, Kurtz said.
There were no injuries.
Before the fire broke out, officers were called to the house when the man began breaking windows over his wife leaving him, police said. The officers spoke to him briefly, then back off, during which time he allegedly started the fire.
The family of the estranged wife said they had obtained a restraining order against the man — who allegedly had a history of drug use and was known for screaming at his wife — but the order had not been served yet.
Flames were visible through every window of the home when firefighters arrived. 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 not 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.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)