Man sets fire to mother, grandmother

A Marble City man suspected of dousing his mother and grandmother with gasoline then catching their mobile home on fire Wednesday will face murder charges should the victims not survive, Greg Cox, investigator for the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s office said.

Joseph Allen Hernandez, 31, who received minor burns and smoke inhalation after the fire broke out was air lifted to a Tulsa hospital but was expected to be released Thursday, Cox said. Hernandez will be brought to the Sequoyah County Jail to face charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and arson, but could face additional charges following the investigation, Cox said.

“We’ve sent two deputies who are on standby to bring him here once he’s released from the hospital. Should the victims, both in critical condition not survive, Hernandez will be facing additional (murder) charges,” Cox said.

Cox said the grandmother, 79, was in a wheel chair and is reported to be in extreme critical condition. The mother, 62, is critical from both serious burns and smoke and fumes inhalation. The names of the victims are being withheld due to pending notification of other family members.

Marble City Police Chief James Cheney reported he received the call about a fire to a mobile home located at 117 Delaware Street in Marble City around 12:38 p.m.

“There were neighbors who had helped the victims out of the house. The grandmother who had one leg amputated and was in a wheel chair and the mother both received serious burns,” he said.

“Hernandez had a few minor burns but they lifeflighted him because of the fumes and smoke he might have inhaled,” Cheney said.

Cox reported Hernandez had admitted to dousing the two women with gasoline then said he lit a cigarette with a gallon of gas in his hand which erupted into the fire.

Cheney said there were two mobile homes adjoined by a walkway where the incident occurred.

“The fire caught one of the mobile homes on fire but had not ignited the other one when I arrived, he said. The fire later spread to the other mobile home and both were destroyed.

Cheney said this is not the first fire or crime related incident for Hernandez.

“He just got out of prison on May 28 for assault and battery-related charges. He’s been in a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. I charged him with throwing a cocktail at another residence, not this same one, a few years ago,” Cheney said.

Cheney said Hernandez also “cut off his own penis” around four years ago and had to be lifeflighted at that time.

Cheney, who operates the Marble City Police Department alone, said there were several agencies that responded to help.

Fire departments from Marble City, Brushy, Sallisaw and McKey, responded for assistance, along with three Pafford ambulances, three air vacs and the sheriff’s office.

Sequoyah County Times

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