A man who walked into a police station at Miami Beach, Florida, USA on Saturday and said "I've done something terrible.
A man who walked into a police station at Miami Beach, Florida, USA on Saturday and said "I've done something terrible. I've made a lot of people scream" has been charged with arson.
Charles Reardon, of Bal Harbour, Florida, has been accused of setting fire to a cafe where the people were eating. In the blaze and the subsequent panic, 139 people were injured - 14 of them critically.
Reardon, who walked into the station 22 minutes after the incident, was questioned for 12 hours, then charged with arson and "throwing a destructive device."
Eye-witnesses said he had walked into the cafeteria, sprinkled petroleum on the floor and dropped a match.
The customers, mostly elderly, were taken to fur hospitals with various injuries - burns, cuts from scrambling through windows, and smoke effects.
The case was comparatively uncrowded at the time. A little earlier there were hundreds more customers, and police say there could have been fatalities in the crush to flee the flames.
SYNOPSIS: A fire in a cafeteria in Miami Beach, Florida, USA, led to 139 people being taken to hospital. Fourteen of them were critically ill. Shortly after the fire, a man walked into a police station and said: "I've done something terrible. I've made a lot of people scream." Eyewitnesses said the man, Charles Reardon, had sprinkled petrol on the floor and set it alight.
While rescue work went on, police quizzed Reardon. After 12 hours he was charged with arson.
Meanwhile, four hospitals were coping with the casualties, who'd been rushed in by ambulances and private cars. As well as burns, many had injuries from the panic which followed the fire. In the first scramble to get out, people rushed to the exits, but couldn't get through the turnstiles where customers pay their bills. Many people were cut while escaping through windows.