A man hospitalized with burns after the garage he was in exploded is now facing charges of arson and criminal mischief.
The man, identified by police as Tyler Holmes, age 32, rents a room in the home. Police say he was cited to appear in Multnomah County Court to face a judge once he's out of the hospital.
The explosion happened just before noon Saturday at a house in the 2500 block of Hewitt.
Police say they believe he may have been high on something when he lit a gas can or cans on fire in the garage. Holmes, who reportedly doesn't take any prescribed medication, explained to them that he was trying to "kill demons and ghosts."
Neighbors said they heard the explosion, then watched as a fire spread through the house.
"It rocked the neighborhood," said Tom Joiner, who captured the flames on his cell phone camera. "It happened so fast, from me standing in my living room to hearing, 'Boom!' And then the whole house shook. The foundation shook."
Neighbors called 911 and heard someone screaming for help.
"I heard a female's voice say, 'Oh my God,'" said Joiner. "Then the male voice said, 'Oh my gosh, I've killed them all! I think I've killed them all!'"
Joiner said he looked over his fence and saw a man and the woman running away from the fire. Other neighbors ran to help a burned man who came out of the garage when it exploded.
"The gentleman was just yelling for help and not able to breathe very well," said Julie Ugarte, who lives in the house next door. "Just very, very scared."
Ugarte said she waited with the Holmes until paramedics rushed him to the hospital.
This isn't the first time residents on Hewitt Street have had to help a fire victim.
Ugarte's 16-year-old son, Marcos, made national news last month when he rescued a 6-year-old boy from another house fire on the same street.
"It's kind of a scary thing to have it happen two times in a month in our neighborhood," said Ugarte. "But lots of our neighbors came out and really tired to help. And there were a couple of people who were trying to put the fire out with a hose in the garage but the fire was just way too intense."
The homeowner, Matt Reed, said he wasn't home when the fire happened.
"I came home to it burned up," said Reed.
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