Man who allegedly set fire to mattress tried biting emergency responders, said ‘voices’ told him to set blaze: reports

Crime Watch

Patricio Orque

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Recently released sheriff’s reports say a man accused of setting fire to a mattress inside a house tried biting emergency responders and wildly struggled as deputies and firefighters attempted to restrain him.

Following his arrest, Patricio Orque told deputies he set the fire because he’s mentally ill and the “voices” told him to do it. He also said he lit the blaze to get firefighters to enter the house so he could get medical aid for his hands and feet.

The hands and lower arms of Orque, 43, had scabs and bleeding, open sores on them, the documents say. Bandages covered his feet, which were also bleeding, up to his ankles.

The incident leading to his arrest began around noon New Year’s Day when firefighters were called to reports of smoke coming from a house in the 1000 block of Normandy Street. The residence was identified as a halfway house.

Orque had barricaded himself inside his room after setting a mattress on fire, according to the documents. Firefighters forced their way inside, and Orque threw a can of beans at them and punched a firefighter in the face.

The firefighter who was punched told deputies he wasn’t injured because he was wearing his fire mask, but Orque had “a good punch.”

It took three or four firefighters to drag Orque out of the house, and he immediately tried to go back inside, according to the documents. Firefighters held him down until deputies arrived.

At one point, so many firefighters were needed to restrain Orque that only one was available to fight the blaze.

Deputies tried to carry Orque to the front yard but had to put him down because he kept thrashing and bucking his 220-pound frame, according to the documents. Hall Ambulance personnel administered a sedative which took about 10 minutes to take effect.

Even after being sedated, Orque continued to try to spit on emergency personnel, the documents say.

The operations manager of the house told deputies Orque suffers from mental illness but may also have been using drugs, specifically methamphetamine or spice (synthetic marijuana).

Orque has pleaded not guilty to arson, three counts of resisting an officer, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm on a peace officer and battery on a peace officer. He remains in custody on $200,000 bail.

He’s next due in court Thursday.

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