HOLIDAY, Fla. (WFLA) — Deputies in Hernando County arrested a man who is believed to be the suspect responsible for destroying several homes and nearly killing several people in Holiday, according to authorities.
On March 4, a fire destroyed four townhomes and severely damaged another on Boardwalk Street. Firefighters had to spend 90 minutes just to get the fire contained.
“The fact that they’re elevated they’re all would move very quickly,” said Corey Dierdorff, with Pasco County Fire Rescue. “The fact that we didn’t lose this entire row is a huge testament to the men and women of Pasco fire, who really showed up at night and thought through some very, very tough and difficult conditions.”
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said Joseph Bronson Newman, 33, caused the fire by setting a van on fire in the area, which then spread to the homes and destroyed several other vehicles and boating vessels.
“The people whose homes burned to the ground, obviously, there’s nothing left to salvage,” said Robin Williams, neighbor.
No injuries were reported. Newman was arrested on numerous charges of attempted homicide and arson in the case.
“We were under contract and the fire happened, “said neighbor Robin Williams. “The buyer backed out and said he didn’t feel safe in the neighborhood.”
Williams said she’s always felt safe in this neighborhood but is angered for her neighbors who lost everything.
“There is a sense of relief in knowing that he’s been arrested, and that hopefully the rest of us are safe because I would get up in the middle of the night and pick out the window to see if there was any suspicious going on,” said Williams.
8 On Your Side has reached out to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office for more information.