Man accused of setting 71-year-old father on fire

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A 71-year-old man was hospitalized Tuesday morning following a house fire in Orange County.

The fire broke out at a home on Toledo Street around 6:30 a.m., officials said.

"It was a small fire in a bedroom. We did put the fire out within a minute and took the person to the hospital," said Jose Flores of Orange County Fire Rescue.

Deputies said they discovered that the victim’s mattress and pillow had been set on fire by his son, Santiago Torres Jr.

The victim's daughter, Diana Torres, described the terrifying incident to Channel 9.

"It was big. The flames were pretty high and the whole bed was burning. My father was in the bed. It was horrible. I was screaming," said Diana Torres.

Jane Watrel of the Orange County Sheriff'a Office said the victim, Santiago Torres Sr., was sick and lying in bed when his son-in-law found his 43-year-old son in the room.

"My dad was burning. He had his back and his neck burned," said Diana Torres.

The son-in-law said Torres Jr. yelled at him to get out of the room.

The unidentified son-in-law later noticed glowing coming from the man's room. He said that's when he saw the pillow and a mattress on fire and found the victim on fire.

"We seen him burning and we went crazy," said Diana Torres. "I pulled him [Santiago Torres Jr.] out because he was hovering over my father. And, I pulled him out and threw him on the floor."  

Torres Sr. is in serious condition with upper body injuries.

Diana Torres told WFTV her brother has a longstanding drug problem and was stealing and taking her father's pain medication.

She said he'd been aggressive in the past, and that she recently had an injunction against him lifted to unite the family, and so he could spend the last few months their father has together.

Diana Torres said she suspected her brother was high on her dad's morphine Tuesday morning.

"I don't think he even realized what was going on," said Diana Torres. "My brother just needs help. He needs mental help."

Torres Jr. was arrested and charged with attempted homicide and arson to an occupied dwelling.

The state fire marshal is investigating.