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Father torches van after news of son's death


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Flames consume this van after a father who'd just learned his son died in Iraq set it afire while inside.
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Father torches Marine Corps van -- with himself inside -- when told of son's combat death.
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(CNN) -- After being informed that his 20-year-old son was killed while serving in Iraq, a Florida man doused a U.S. government van with gasoline and set it on fire while sitting inside.

Carlos Arredondo, 44, was severely burned and rushed to Hollywood Regional Hospital in Florida after learning that Pfc. Alexander Arredondo had died, police said.

"He suffered serious burns," said Detective Carlos Negron.

Negron said the young man was killed in Iraq Tuesday.

Melida Arredondo told CNN-affiliate WFOR, "My husband did not take the news well."

The events started around 2:15 p.m. when three Marine casualty officers arrived at the home to inform the Arredondo family of the death.

Arredondo went to his garage and came out carrying a propane tank, a gallon of gasoline and a welder's torch, police spokesman Tony Rode said.

The Marines tried to calm him, Rode said, but Arredondo smashed the window of their van, got inside and doused it with the gasoline.

Then he set it on fire.

"Unfortunately, the man was caught in the fire," a police statement said.

Video showed the van engulfed in flames.

The three Marines pulled the father from the burning van and had him "drop and roll," police said.

Arredondo was taken to a hospital and then to a burn center in Miami, Florida, with serious burns over much of his body.

"A bad situation turned ugly is what happened," Rode said.

"He's actually inside and, at one point, comes out of the vehicle pretty much on fire," Rode said. "He was burning on his arms, legs and hands."

The U.S. Marines had no immediate comment.

A call to the family's home was not immediately returned.


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