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House explosion victim charged with arson

Thomas George Isbell Jr., 28, is being charged with arson

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SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County fire marshals worked all day Tuesday to determine the cause of a fire that wiped out one house and damaged two others, sending one man to the hospital just before 9 a.m. in the 3600 block of Candlehill.

"I woke up by a blast," said Margaret Sparks, who lives close to the house. "It shook my house. My house vibrated and it scared me. So, I got up and I looked out and I saw the smoke."

Laura Jesse with the fire marshals's office said the blast was so intense that it blew the victim Thomas George Isbell Jr., 28, out of the home and into a neighbor's yard.

"He flew out of the window, about five feet from us and he was on fire," said Rufus Kemp, who tried to help.

Kemp and another neighbor, Myron Doern, heard screams coming from the home and rushed there to help, but when they got there, Isbell was already badly burned on his face, hands and feet.

"I'm talking to him," said Doern. "The next thing you know, there were more explosions, pops, going on. He was pretty badly burned. I didn't want to touch him. I was like, "Come on. Let's go. Let's go."

In pain, Isbell told his rescuers and first responders that he was responsible for the fire.

"The kid kept saying, "I did it. I did it. I'm in trouble. I did it, but I didn't think it was going to be this bad." said Kemp.

"The victim also told first responders that he lit two cans of gasoline," said Jesse.

The blast also damaged two neighboring homes, displacing at least five people.

Isbell is being charged with arson, said Jesse.


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