Woman on fire runs from apartment

June 15, 2009 10:17:59 AM PDT
A woman is hospitalized after suffering burns to 70 percent of her body. Arson investigators believe someone intentionally doused her with fuel and set her on fire.Neighbors at the Villa Acapulco apartments on Braeburn Glen near Bissonnet in southwest Houston say they saw a woman in her 30s come running out of her home just before midnight, screaming and covered in flames.

When the woman came running out of her apartment, Fernando Beiza says his instinct kicked in.

"She was burning with flames this high," he said, motioning above his head with his hand.

That is when he and another man ripped off their shirts and used them to beat the flames out. Some witnesses say it's the worst thing they have ever seen.

"I was literally over there by my car and I just saw her running, and she was literally running and she was on fire from head to toe," said eyewitness Alejandra Chavira . "I was in shock. I didn't know what to do. I was like, 'Oh my God, what should I do?' I just dialed 911."

Houston police say the 33-year-old mother of two was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition.

Authorities believe someone intentionally set her on fire.

"It doesn't appear to be an accident. We are investigating it as an arson," said arson investigator P. Aranda with the Houston Fire Department.

Investigators went door to door this morning in search of witnesses. They say they do have a list of various persons of interest. They are trying to narrow it down.

But Beiza says as the victim was lying on the ground waiting for paramedics to arrive, she told him her boyfriend was responsible.

He said, "She told me he had thrown gasoline inside, that he hit her and doused her with gas and lit her on fire."

The victim told the same thing to an officer, but authorities aren't sure who that boyfriend is at this time.

The victim's two children were with her ex-husband at the time of the attack. He told Eyewitness News that the children have been with him since yesterday.

The victim's identity hasn't been released.

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