Home Fire News Florida man sets hospital bed on fire to get attention from nurses

Florida man sets hospital bed on fire to get attention from nurses


A New Smyrna Beach man was annoyed that the nurses in the hospital were ignoring him.

So, according to police, he lit his hospital bed on fire.

That got the nurses’ attention. And now John David King, 75, has to pay $15,000 bond if he wants to get away from Volusia County Jail. Not to mention the cost of a new hospital bed.

Perhaps the Florida man, charged with second-degree felony arson damage to a structure, now wishes he had given the call button one more press.

According to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department, on Saturday King lit a plastic bag on fire with a Bic lighter in a shared room at the AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach hospital. He felt the nursing staff had ignored his request to bring him his clothes and figured a fire in his bed would get their attention.

Before the fire, King was admitted to the hospital for respiratory failure, according to the charging affidavit.

The first time King tried to set his bed on fire, his hospital roommate Samuel Moreno said he told King to put out the flames. King walked back toward his bed and presumably out of view behind the curtain. But Moreno, 84, could see that King was once again trying to light a fire despite the partition between the beds.

That’s when Moreno hit the emergency button by his bed to summon a nurse, according to the charging affidavit. When that nurse, Jessie Guarini, 35, came to the room Moreno shouted, “The m—f— in here lit his bed on fire. I can’t breathe. The smoke is in the room.”

Guarini shouted to the nurse’s station, “Fire! There is a fire!” and called 911. Another nurse, Marrie Koch, 27, used an extinguisher to douse the bed, which the hospital ruled a total loss.

King, the arrest report said, walked out of his room amid the excitement and headed toward the elevators and told staffers he was “getting the hell out of there.”

During an interview with officers, King told them “staff members were ignoring him when he asked for them to bring him his clothes. He believed that the staff members were not going to help him at all, which upset him,” the affidavit said.

King, police said, told officers he “intentionally lit his bed on fire to get the attention of the hospital staff” but that he “didn’t intend to harm himself or others.”

A hospital administrator said the cost to replace the destroyed bed is $4,000, Click Orlando reported. King remains in police custody.

King’s court arraignment is scheduled for March 18.

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