Suspect poured gasoline all over exterior of home, was interrupted before he could light it, police say
A Taft man has been arrested on arson and attempted arson charges and could face attempted murder charges following what Taft Police say was an attempt to set fire to a home with three people, including his 3-year-old daughter in it Friday night.
Carl Robertson is currently being held on $250,000 bail on the arson charges, Taft Chief of Police Ed Whiting said.
Whiting said Robertson, 47, was interrupted while dousing the outside of the home on the 400 block of Church Street with gasoline.
If Robertson had not been interrupted, Whiting said, the people could have been killed.
“We feel they would have suffered very serious injuries if not death,” Whiting said.
Three people were inside the home – including one who had a restraining order against Robertson, Whiting said, and was staying with a relative.
They started smelling gasoline fumes.
When the relative went outside to check, he saw Robertson pouring gasoline on the house and confronted him.
Robertson said he wanted to see his daughter, Whiting said, then fled in a vehicle.
Taft Police were called and Kern County firefighters were sent to the scene because of the hazard.
Whiting said a large amount of gasoline was used.
“The family inside was very fortunate that no one was burned,” he said. “That house would have gone up real fast.”
A KCFD arson investigator was called to the scene and gathered evidence.
Robertson fled the area and knew police were looking for him, Whiting said.
Taft Police continued their investigation and arrested Robertson Monday night, Whiting said.
Police are going to ask the Kern County District Attorney to files attempted murder charges.
“He made very significant threats to kill his wife and daughter,” Whiting said. “He made the threats and then attempted to carry it out but he was interrupted.”
The threats are documented, Whiting said.
Robertson is also charged with violating a restraining order.
Kern County Superior Court Records show Robertson was arraigned on Dec. 11 on a spousal abuse charge and was free on $25,000 bail.