TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Two men who share a last name were arrested after deputies said they intentionally set fire to a house with 21 people inside on Sunday.
According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, first responders were dispatched to a home on London Lane for a reported arson. When they arrived, they learned that 42-year-old Ulysses Rivera, of Tampa, had threatened to kill the home’s occupants with a machete.
Authorities said Ulysses then poured gasoline throughout the house while a second suspect, 63-year-old Orlando Rivera, of Bonita Springs, set the gas on fire.
The two then fled the home and locked the door behind them. Those inside the house were forced to exit through the windows.
The sheriff’s office said 21 people were inside the home at the time of the fire. Four of them suffered injuries as a result of the fire.
“These two violent offenders put multiple people in danger and they deserve to start their New Year behind bars at the Marceno Motel,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said. “I am proud of my deputies’ quick response to help save the victims of this fire, and I wish them a speedy recovery from this horrible situation.”
Ulysses and Orlando Rivera were located by deputies in the neighborhood and arrested.
Ulysses Rivera was charged with aggravated assault, arson, and three counts of aggravated battery. His bond was set at a combined $1.3 million. Orlando Rivera was charged with arson and three counts of aggravated battery. His bond was set at a combined $1.25 million.