FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Fort Myers man has been arrested and charged with arson after a fire destroyed four apartments Friday morning. But on Thursday, officers were called out for a complaint about the same man.
Jerry White, 60, has been arrested and charged with arson. Officers said he confessed to the crime but a look into his past shows that it isn't the first time he's dealt with law enforcement.
"Everything I lost, everything I bought the baby. I'm about to have a baby in August," said Brown.
Brown is about to welcome a new bundle of joy into the world but anger is all he has in his heart after he says his neighbor deliberately destroyed his apartment Friday morning.
"Everybody on the property knows that he's schizophrenic. Everybody knows so we try to leave him alone and just let him stay by himself," said Brown.
White has been arrested and charged with arson and arson resulting in injury. Officers said White confessed to starting a blaze shortly before 7 a.m. that destroyed four units and sent a fire fighter and two police officers to the hospital with smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. Neighbors said White makes threats regularly, including just Thursday, warning he was going to light the fire.
"He also said that he was going to smoke us out," said Brown.
"That was yesterday, that he said in front of her niece, that everyone in that building is going to die," said Evelyn Colon, who lives at Palm Vista.
"Plenty of times he shouldn't have been here doing stuff and nothing was done. This is why this fire started," said Robert Santiago, who lost his apartment in the fire.
Fort Myers police told WINK News, officers responded to White's apartment at Palm Vista apartments Thursday afternoon. The said White was yelling and throwing things but did not meet the requirement for a mental evaluation. They added that threats were never made. WINK News tried to talk to apartment management, to ask about White.., they refused to comment and refereed us to corporate.
"They could have avoided this if they would have done something the first time all of this happened," said Colon.
White's criminal record includes an arrest in March for carrying a concealed weapon.
The Red Cross is helping families affected by the fire, get back on their feet.