Visalia man accused of setting woman on fire

FRESNO, Calif.

Police say a Visalia woman is in critical condition Sunday after the father of her children set her on fire. The crime happened near the intersection of Carson Street and Sedona Avenue in Visalia on Saturday afternoon. The victim's children said their mother has burns on 80 percent of her body.

Burned chairs, charred pieces of insulation, and black debris were what was left of the living room where police say a Visalia man set a woman on fire.

Neighbors saw the room go up in flames just before 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Hours later the victim's children couldn't believe their father nearly killed their mom. Police are now calling it an extreme act of domestic violence.

" Our investigation led us to the fact that there had been some sort of domestic dispute where the male suspect had thrown a flammable liquid on the victim," said Sgt. Brent Abbott from the Visalia Police Department. "Most of our domestic violence is people use their hands and so forth so this is very rare, very, very rare."

The victim's son was in another room when he says his dad lit up his 45-year-old mom. He told us his father has a long criminal history and often hurt her. The fire also killed the family's dog and three puppies.

The victim's son said his father did not help put out any of the flames. All he did was back up his truck which was already packed with all of his belongings. Family members believe their father carefully planned the abuse and wanted to escape the scene. But neighbors stopped him.

"This is a nice neighborhood, you just never know there are crazy people everywhere and had no idea something like this would ever happen here. It's very sad," said neighbor Nathan Stephens.

Visalia police have not released the name of the suspect. He could face charges including attempted murder and arson. He is currently being treated for some burn wounds as well but is expected to be booked into jail as soon as he is released from the hospital.

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