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Police: Man pours out gasoline, tries to start fire in McDonald's bathroom

Man, 27, charged with arson after emptying bottle, lighting gas, police say

Booking photo of John Anthony Hernandez-Ramos

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 27-year-old Gainesville man was charged with arson Sunday night after police said he emptied a plastic soda bottle filled with gasoline in a McDonald's bathroom and tried to light it on fire.

Police were called to the McDonald's at 1206 West University Avenue just before 10 p.m. Sunday after reports of a fire in the bathroom.

Firefighters were able to quickly put out the smoldering fire with minimal water, which limited the damage to the restaurant. No one was injured and the McDonald's remained open, firefighters said.

Police said their investigation into the fire revealed that John Anthony Hernandez-Ramos had filled a plastic soda bottle with gasoline at a nearby Circle K gas station and then walked to the McDonald's, where he poured the gasoline on the floor and in the trash can inside the men's restroom.

Police said Hernandez-Ramos lit a handful of tissues on fire and threw them on the gasoline, trying to start a large fire. He ran off, but police said they were able to identify him because of interactions they'd had with him before.

Hernandez-Ramos was taken into custody a couple of hours after the incident and confessed to starting the fire, police said.

He was charged with first-degree arson to a building with people inside, and his bond was set at $500,000.


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