MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Plantation Police have arrested a man accused of setting a woman on fire Monday morning.
Officers took 47-year-old Noel Garcia De Armas in custody around noon after searching for him for hours.
According to investigators, De Armas and his estranged wife were in some sort of domestic dispute in a parking lot of a shopping center located at NW 70th Avenue on Broward Blvd.
At some point, they say, he poured gasoline on her and set her on fire while inside a red Honda before he drove off in a white Ford F-350 dually Super Crew cab pick-up truck.
A nurse arriving to work at a nearby clinic jumped in to help.
“And I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye and I looked over and my first thought was there was a vehicle on fire,” the witness told CBS4’s Joan Murray.
“I was screaming stop, drop, and roll and as I approached within about 10 feet of her, I was able to get her attention. She realized that someone was coming to her aid and I directed her to the grass and she dove on the grass and I rolled her around to extinguish the flames and I heard other people screaming, ‘that was the guy, he beat her, he set her on fire.’”
Rescue crews rushed the woman to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s burn unit with burns over a large portion of her body. At last check, she was in critical condition.
Chopper 4 was over the scene around 9 a.m. The red Honda could be seen surrounded by crime scene tape. Officers are calling the incident an attempted homicide.
The witness said the victim was in shock. “I also work in the marine industry so I’ve dealt with a few emergencies out there but nothing as traumatic as this. She was in shock. She was conscious and able to understand our questions but she was in utter shock.
Investigators believed De Armas may have been trying to get out of the country.
He was taken into custody shortly before noon without incident and faces numerous charges.