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Calif. Man Dies After Setting Fire

January 9, 2006

DOWNEY, Calif. (AP) _ An elderly man apparently upset about a parking dispute died in his burning house after trying to set fire to two of his neighbors’ homes using ``homemade bombs,″ authorities said.

Only the man, who was in his 80s and not identified, was injured. His home in this Southern California town burned to the ground.

Police received a call about an explosion early Sunday and found the man standing in the street holding two handguns. One of his arm was in flames. When police told him to drop the guns, he fled into his house. Minutes later, flames and smoke came from the home, followed by several explosions, the city said in a statement.

Fire apparently set off ammunition in the house, police Sgt. Ralph Romero said. The danger posed by the ammunition forced firefighters to postpone fighting the blaze, he said.

The homemade bombs at the neighbors’ houses did not fully ignite, the city said. But fire caused extensive damage to the house next door. A 5-gallon canister of flammable liquid that police believe the elderly man placed next to that home ignited but did minimal damage.

The other targeted house was across the street, where Matilde Saucedo said he was awakened by gunshots and found his front door frame on fire.

``My daughter said there was a man outside with a torch,″ said Saucedo, 60. He said he put the door fire out with his hands.

Investigators said the man had a long-standing feud with several neighbors regarding parking on the cul-de-sac. Neighbors said he also had other gripes.

``He was always mad at the whole neighborhood, always screaming at the kids especially,″ Saucedo said. ``He hated everybody. I just never thought it would get to that point.″

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