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Police say caretaker set fire to home of man in wheelchair
Published December 5, 2007
FORT LAUDERDALE - The caretaker of a 53-year-old man confined to a wheelchair set his Fort Lauderdale apartment on fire Tuesday morning, according to police.
"The man threw his caretaker out last night and told her not to return, but she was back this morning," Fort Lauderdale Detective Felicia Barnwell said. "The caretaker poured some kind of liquid accelerant on the windowsill (of the one-story apartment complex) and lit it up. The apartment was engulfed in flames when fire rescue arrived."
Witnesses said Leslie "Les" Smith sprayed his female caretaker with pepper spray and locked her out of the apartment when she came back early Tuesday.
The caretaker knocked on several doors in the area asking for gas or lighter fluid around 8 a.m., according to several neighbors.
Brandy Duncan, 26, said she saw the woman pour gas on the windows and around the apartment.
Smith, who suffered from fire and smoke inhalation, was found on a scooter near the front door of his apartment.
Smith's caretaker has not been identified or arrested, but could be charged with arson or attempted murder, Barnwell said.