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Deputies: Man sets his home on fire while livestreaming on Facebook

Putnam County man, 44, jailed on 2 counts of arson

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A 44-year-old man used Facebook Live to broadcast himself setting his Palatka-area home and vehicle on fire, authorities said.

It happened late Wednesday night on State Road 19 near U.S. 17.

According to an offense report, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office responded to the home after receiving information that the Putnam County man was posting threats on Facebook Live. The report goes on to state that the man was livestreaming himself on Facebook as he set his vehicle and house on fire.

"I heard a bang over here last night and I called up the owner and asked him, 'You been shooting at something?' He said, 'No, I'm burning my house and my car,'" neighbor Mitchell Williams told News4Jax on Thursday.

Williams said the blaze was so intense that when he called 911, the operator told him people driving along U.S. 19 had also called to report the fire.

"It was an immensely bright fire with smoke going up," Williams said. "You could see the smoke being illuminated by the fire probably a mile or two in every direction."

The Sheriff's Office SWAT team responded, because investigators said the homeowner made threats on Facebook, and he was taken into custody. While in the back seat of a patrol car, according to the offense report, the man stated several times he did not burn the home or the vehicle.

The state fire marshal was called to investigate. 

All that remained of the home the next day was charred remains. 

It remains unclear why the vehicle and home were torched, but the man, identified by investigators as Robert Barker, was booked into the Putnam County jail on one count of first-degree arson and one count of second-degree arson, according to online jail records.

As of Thursday evening, he remained in jail on $20,000 bond, online jail records show. 


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