SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Police in Santa Ana say a heated argument between a husband and his wife ended with him torching the home when she said she was leaving him and taking the kids.
CBS2’s Michele Gile spoke to neighbors.
“I hear fighting, arguments,” said neighbor Emma Coronado.
But she never saw a scene like the one at her next door neighbor’s house on West Washington Avenue Thursday evening. The house was fully engulfed in flames.
Santa Ana Police say Jose Luis Martinez set his family’s home on fire because his wife and children left him and his business is failing.
“But to start your house on fire? This is the first time I’ve seen it,” said Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
Coronado pulled out her cellphone and recorded the flames from her backyard.
Earlier in the evening, police came to the residence when they said family members told them Martinez, 34, who is in jail on suspicion of arson, was breaking windows.
According to officials, Martinez learned about a restraining order and that he was going to have to move out.
Coronado says she knew Martinez and his wife were splitting up and there had been problems between them in the past.
“They argue a lot these days,” she said. “I could hear them [even if I was] in the back of my house, working. Only bad words.”
Police told Gile they’d been called to the Martinez home before.
A cat named Mittens died in the fire. The family’s two dogs were rescued.