Arsonists lit home on fire and locked doors with 21 people inside, Florida cops say

Street View image from Jan. 2015. © 2022 Google

A Florida home was doused with gas on New Year’s Day and set ablaze with 21 people locked inside, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Four were hurt as the group scrambled to escape through windows, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

It happened at a home on London Lane in Bonita Springs, and a motive has not been released. Bonita Springs is about 150 miles south of Tampa.

“Upon arrival, deputies learned prior to the fire (one man) was wielding a machete inside the residence and threatening to kill people inside,” the sheriff’s office said.

“(He) then began pouring gasoline through the residence while the second suspect ... set the fuel on fire. The two then left the residence, locking the door behind them.”

All 21 people trapped inside escaped, officials said. Details of how the four were injured have not been released, but investigators say they “sustained injuries as a result of the fire.”

Two suspects, ages 42 and 63, were arrested during a search of the neighborhood, officials said.

Both men are charged with “arson and three counts of aggravated battery,” the sheriff’s office said.

The 63-year-old suspect lives in the neighborhood where the fire occurred, while the other man is from Tampa, jail records show.

Investigators have not said what prompted the incident.

“These two ... put multiple people in danger,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in the release.

“I am proud of my deputies’ quick response to help save the victims of this fire, and I wish them a speedy recovery from this horrible situation.”

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