Police: Suspected arsonist burns himself while setting apartment on fire in South Daytona

South Daytona police tracked down the man accused of using gasoline to set an apartment on fire with a person and child inside Saturday morning.

Arthur Lee Avery, 31, went to St. Johns County for treatment after he burned himself while trying to start the blaze at the Spanish Villa Apartment complex on South Ridgewood Avenue, police said.

Officers then learned he was flown to a burn unit in Gainesville.

Investigators will interview Avery once his treatment is done, Lt. Dan Dietrich said.

According to police, Avery banged on one resident's apartment door about 9:42 a.m. and yelled for a man named "Dred" to come out.

Someone inside the home answered the door, and told Avery no one by that name lived there, Dietrich said.

Avery then poured gasoline out of a gas can onto the apartment's breezeway and a bed mattress under the apartment's stairs, police said.

After starting the blaze, Avery's clothes also caught fire.

"The suspect, being on fire, attempted to put the flames out as his clothes burned," Dietrich said. "As the clothing burned away, a set of car keys and his wallet with ID fell to the ground."

Witnesses saw someone get out of a car to help extinguish the flames on Avery's clothes before leaving the scene.

Police have not reported any injuries to the residents.

Attempted homicide and arson charges are pending.

This is a developing story., or 407-420-5620

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