SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. -- An argument over sex may have caused a Seminole County man to burn down his home. Deputies think the flames were set by an angry, naked man seen running from the scene.
nvestigators believe 22-year-old Ryan Burkhart followed through with a threat to set the apartment he shared with his girlfriend on fire. The flames were spotted at 2:30am Wednesday at the Sun Lake apartments near I-4 and Lake Emma Road in Lake Mary (see map). Burkhart was arrested, but not before he spent several hours naked and hiding from police.
Burkhart was charged with aggravated assault and possession of drug paraphernalia, but those charges could be upgraded to arson. Investigators say it all started with a fight over sex.
“He and her boyfriend were being intimate when an argument broke out. Initially, it was verbal. Then it turned physical,” Kim Cannady with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said.
Neighbors heard the fight and called 911. Eyewitnesses said they saw the naked man chasing her out of the apartment, yelling he would set it on fire. However, when deputies arrived, he was gone.
The whole building had to be evacuated and neighbors were forced outside.
Burkhart had been hiding nearby and finally turned himself in, four hours later. He ended up in the back up a patrol car wearing only a pair of shorts and pair of handcuffs. He now facing serious charges over a bad decision made in the heat of the moment.
“If an arson is initiated as the result of a felony, which our suspect is, he could incur the charges of arson, whether it was accidental or on purpose,” Cannady said.
Burkhart was interviewed Wednesday by the State Fire Marshal's Office. The charges against him could be upgraded to arson once its investigation is complete.