July 16, 2014

Key Largo fire appears to be suicide attempt

A man injured in a fire in Key Largo admitted setting the fire in an attempt to commit suicide early today.

The fire occurred in an apartment on Bonito Lane at the 95.2 mile marker of the highway. The smoke detector in apartment A went off at 12:05 a.m. When Deputy Greg LaRochelle arrived at the scene, he found all the tenants had escaped the building except the tenant in apartment B.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and began fighting the fire, which they confirmed appeared to have started in apartment B. Inside apartment B, they found 48 year old John Merendino in the bathtub with the water running. He was breathing, but unconscious. Paramedics treated him and transported him to the hospital. While he was being treated, and in the presence of Deputy LaRochelle, Merendino admitted to starting the fire in a suicide attempt.

Merendino’s two cats perished in the fire.

The State and County Fire Marshall’s offices responded and will be investigating the case. 

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