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Man speaks out after arson fire at Bonita Springs home with 21 people inside

Man speaks about arson at home
Posted at 3:41 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 19:19:09-05

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Two men are in custody after the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said they set fire to a home with 21 people inside on January 1st.

Ulysses Rivera and Orlando Rivera are facing arson and assault charges.

Deputies said, before the fire, Ulysses had a machete and was threatening to kill people inside the home. They said Uysses and a second man, Orlando poured gasoline throughout the home and set it on fire.

Deputies said before the suspects left they locked all the doors.

The people inside were able to escape through the back windows.

Fox 4 reporter Alexandra Rangel spoke to some people living in the home.

They said they are all Guatemalans who work hard to send money back to their families.

Herbert recounted the night of the fire, he had just gone to bed after celebrating New Year's Day.

He said the person who's in the hospital was in a deep sleep and had no idea the house was on fire.

“One person started counting everyone that made it out and we realized someone was missing,” Herbert said.

“I had to risk my life, me and another guy went to go get him,” he said.

He said the person they rescued was badly burned and is still in the hospital.

Ulysses Rivera and Orlando Rivera are still in custody.

Ulysses has been charged with aggravated assault, arson, and three counts of battery.

Orlando has been charged with arson and three counts of aggravated assault.