Wannabe arsonist sets himself on fire as he tries to torch ex-girlfriend’s house: report

A bumbling wannabe arsonist in New Mexico mistakenly set himself on fire when he tried to torch his ex-girlfriend’s house — and fled the scene covered in flames after the caught-on-camera ordeal.

Artemio Sanchez-Ortega, 46, walked calmly down a residential street in Albuquerque on the night of May 24, a red gasoline can in-hand, before hopping his ex’s front gate and trying to light up the house, according to a neighbor’s surveillance video obtained by KOAT Action News 7.

Artemio Sanchez-Ortega held a gas can as he walked down a residential street in Albuquerque, New Mexico. KOAT7
Sanchez-Ortega doused his ex’s yard in gasoline, then sparked it up KOAT7

But the floundering firebug’s nefarious plan went stunningly awry when the yard erupted into a maelstrom of flames while Sanchez-Ortega was still standing there.

When the light from the fire dimmed and the camera re-focused, the blundering crook was hanging from the gate as the flames licked his shoulders and legs, the video showed.

But Sanchez-Ortega was too close to the fire, and wound up catching himself in the blaze. KOAT7
Then Sanchez-Ortega tripped over his own feet before taking off, covered in flames. KOAT7

Then he tripped over his own feet before running down the road, the flames clinging to his body as he fled.

“The instant karma of the situation was weirdly satisfying,” neighbor Daniel Provine, whose cameras captured the crime, told the station.

“But to see that he managed to get back to his truck and drive off and make an escape before anyone really noticed was unfortunate.”

The suspect’s ex and her children — who were inside the home at the time of the fire — were not hurt.

Meanwhile, Sanchez-Ortega took off in a white pickup truck — and he’s still on the run, the network said.

No one inside the home was hurt by the firebug’s attempted arson. KOAT7

The suspect’s ex-girlfriend told investigators that Sanchez-Ortega had called her three times before the incident, and that she “could tell he was drinking,” according to the criminal complaint.

Although the fire looked severe on the tape, it only seemed to damage the vehicles parked outside, the network said.

“I made sure it made available to the investigators,” Provine said of the recording.

“The absurdity of seeing someone with such bitterness to light the fire and the ineptitude to get caught in flames, in the process — it was absolutely absurd and really unfortunate,” he continued. “I feel terrible for the neighbors, wanted to do whatever I could to help.”

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