South Florida Sun-Sentinel
August 25, 2004

Hollywood father burned after being told son died in Iraq

The Associated Press

A man was severely burned Wednesday when he set fire to a Marine Corps van after being told that his Marine son had been killed in Iraq, police said.

Three U.S. Marines went to the house in Hollywood on Wednesday afternoon and told the parents of a 20-year-old Marine that their son died Tuesday in combat in Najaf, Iraq, police said.

The father, Carlos Arredondo, 44, then walked into the open garage, picked up a can of gasoline, a propane tank and a lighting device, Hollywood police Capt. Tony Rode said. He smashed the van's window with the propane tank and doused the van with gasoline before setting it ablaze.

``The father was in disbelief, same as any of us would be after hearing this kind of news,'' Rode said. "But then the father basically loses it. You can only imagine what this father was going through. He snapped to say the least.''

Local television news stations identified the son as Pfc. Alexander Arredondo. Rode did not confirm that. Calls to the Marine Corps. were not immediately returned.

The Marines unsuccessfully tried to stop Arredondo from starting the fire, but he set himself on fire in the process and was inside the burning van when the Marines pulled him out and put out the flames, police said.

``We have not seen this type of reaction. Every reaction is negative, it's the loss of a loved one,'' said U.S. Marines Major Scott Mack. ``I don't think any of us are qualified to go into the depths of the mind and truly anticipate how somebody is going to react.''

Arredondo was initially taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, but then moved to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital's burn unit. He was listed in serious condition with severe burns to his arms and legs.

Rode said it was too early into the investigation to discuss possible charges.

"We'll see how he recovers before doing anything,'' Rode said.

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