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Florida man sets hospital bed on fire to get nurse’s attention, police say

No one was injured

John King
John King

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A man who felt like he was being ignored set his hospital bed on fire while another patient was in the room in an attempt to get a nurse’s attention, according to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.

According to authorities, John King admitted to setting a plastic bag on fire on Saturday because he felt the AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach staff were ignoring his request to bring him his clothes and he believed that the fire would get their attention.

King’s roommate in the hospital explained to officials that he had seen King light a small object on fire, but convinced him to put out the flame, records show. However, when he returned to his bed behind a curtain, he saw King relight the fire and the roommate used the emergency button to notify staff, the report said.

“The (expletive) in here lit his bed on fire. I can’t breathe. The smoke is in the room,” the roommate told the nurses, records show.

A nurse who heard the roommate yell entered the room after seeing the flames and shouted, “Fire. There’s a fire,” and ran to the nurse’s station to dial 911, according to authorities.

A different nurse entered the room after hearing the yelling and put out the flames with a fire extinguisher when she noticed King making his way to the elevator in an attempt to escape, according to the affidavit. Staff stopped him and were able to secure him until fire officials arrived, police said.

King gave authorities the silver and red Bic lighter he used to start the fire, records show. He was arrested on a felony charge of arson, the report said.

According to the hospital’s administrator, the bed was damaged beyond repair and a new one has to be ordered to replace it, which costs $4,000.

King was originally admitted to the hospital for respiratory failure and admitted he had no intention of harming himself or anyone else, records show.