Ormond Beach, FL – An Ormond Beach man is due in court this afternoon, less than 24 hours after city police arrest him for using gasoline to light a mobile home on fire.
57-year-old Joseph C. Gerard set the fire with a woman inside the home on South Nova Road around 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon (February 8th) after getting into an argument with her, according to the arrest report.
Ormond Beach Police Department Officer Keith Walker says the woman – who lived with Gerard at that home just south of Fleming Avenue – managed to get out safely.
“Gerard had fled the scene prior to officer’s arrival,” Walker added. “The damage to the mobile home was extensive.”
Gerard was caught around two hours later in his vehicle by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office during a traffic stop near the intersection of LPGA and Clyde Morris boulevards.
According to the arrest report, first responders smelled gas when arriving at the home, discovering a partially melted gas can inside.
Gerard’s 56-year-old roommate told OBPD he had been acting “crazy” just before setting the fire by banging items in his area of the home, which he told her he was doing because he was cleaning, per the report.
It was after that when she smelled gas and confronted Gerard while he was outside the home smoking a cigarette about it, at which point he told her “I’ve had it” and used a purple lighter to set an open door on fire, according to the report.
Deputies discovered a purple lighter inside Gerard’s vehicle when he was pulled over.
When questioned, Gerard’s roommate told detectives that she thinks Gerard was upset with her because she wouldn’t have sex with him.
Gerard – who had singed arm hair when questioned by OBPD at the hospital – told officers he had “no other choice” but to set the fire, per the report. Part of his statement was redacted, but Gerard did tell officers he “probably” set the fire even though he had no memory of doing it and that he and his roommate were having problems getting along.
He’s currently held on no bond at Volusia County Jail on felony charges of arson and aggravated assault.