BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — When Joshua Martin Woodswilliams had a bad day, fires started.
The 36-year-old Woodswilliams admitted igniting buildings, vehicles and trees in the Taft area based on how his day was going and how people treated him, according to newly-released court documents.
Sometimes he did it to get an ex-girlfriend’s attention, he told Kern County Fire arson investigators.
Believed responsible for an arson spree that occurred over the course of a year, Woodswilliams, arrested earlier this month, is being held on $382,500 bail on 11 counts of arson, and is facing charges including vandalism and burglary in other cases filed against him.
The fires resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and “caused many of the citizens of Taft to fear for their properties and their lives,” investigators say in the documents.
A hearing is scheduled next month on whether Woodswilliams is competent to stand trial.
Some fires were started by using what Woodswilliams, 36, called a “time-delay device:” a 2-liter bottle filled with gasoline and placed in a backpack which he then lit. He told investigators he used that method to burn large commercial buildings on Center Street.
In other instances, Woodswilliams said, he dropped burning clothing down vents, or simply poured gas on an object and ignited it.
He burned a truck belonging to his ex-girlfriend’s grandparents because he had seen her in it with his brother, “and he didn’t like that,” he said according to the documents.
An informant identified Woodswilliams as the arsonist, the documents say. Initially arrested on suspicion of burglary, he admitted during an interview with arson investigators at Lerdo Jail to igniting the blazes, the reports say.