Panama City police arrest man accused of setting fire to his RV outside Walmart

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PANAMA CITY — Police arrested a man after he allegedly set fire to his own RV early Monday.

According to a Panama City Police Department news release, 30-year-old Thomas Edward Gonzales was charged with arson of a structure.

Just before 9 a.m., a 911 call came in regarding a recreational vehicle on fire in the Walmart parking lot on 23rd Street. When officers arrived, the RV was fully-engulfed in flames.

Firefighters with the Panama City Fire Department quickly bring an RV fire under control in the parking lot of the 23rd Street Walmart on Monday morning.
Firefighters with the Panama City Fire Department quickly bring an RV fire under control in the parking lot of the 23rd Street Walmart on Monday morning.

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First responders with the Panama City Fire Department arrived on scene within five minutes and began battling the blaze. The fire was quickly brought under control by 12 firefighters, officials reported.

After talking to witnesses, PCPD detectives determined that Gonzales had parked his RV in the parking lot and left. Minutes later, smoke was seen coming from the RV and it quickly became engulfed in flames. During their investigation, detectives learned that Gonzales had poured an accelerant on the RV, started the fire, went to get a cup of coffee and returned, parking his vehicle a distance away and watching the blaze.

Gonzales was booked into the Bay County Jail.

Anyone having information in this case is urged to call the Panama City Police Department at 850-872-3100, or report tips anonymously via smartphone by downloading the “Panama City PD” Tip411 app from the iOS or Google Play store.

This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Panama City police arrest man for allegedly setting fire to own RV

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