Osceola County

Osceola County deputy’s Taser caused gas station fire that injured man, 3 deputies, report says

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The electric discharge from an Osceola County deputy firing his Taser caused a fire that injured three deputies and caused another man to be burned on more than 75% of his body, according to a report completed by the state fire marshal this week.

The report says Osceola County deputies were in a vehicle pursuit attempting to stop a man on a dirt bike prior to the fire on Feb. 27 at a Wawa in Orange County located at John Young and Central Florida parkways.


Surveillance video from the incident shows an Osceola County deputy tackling a man, identified as Jean Louis Barreto Baerga, filling up his dirt bike with gas.

About 22 seconds after that, the first explosion happens.

READ: Stun gun used during arrest led to gas station fire that burned 3 deputies, suspect, witnesses say

The fire caused minor injuries to two deputies, and third-degree burns to another deputy. According to the fire marshal’s report, Barreto Baerga was burned on 76% of his body and was not expected to survive.

The report concluded that the start of the fire was accidental.

READ: Deputies release video of fire that happened during arrest at gas station

“The most probable cause of the fire was an electric discharge from the deputies deploying a department-issued taser device,” the report states in its conclusion.

The sheriff’s office previously refused to answer whether a Taser was used in the incident.

The department previously released its policy on stun gun use, which states members are not to use conducted energy weapons on subjects operating a motor vehicle or unarmed subjects that “could possibly be seriously injured by secondary factors as a results of CEW activation,” including around flammable substances.

READ: 3 Osceola County deputies burned while arresting suspect at Orange County gas station, sheriff says

Channel 9 is working on compiling additional details from the report and will have those live on Eyewitness News starting at 6 p.m.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

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