Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Cops: Fire attempted suicide

A 48-year-old man was found in his bathtub with the water running in his burning apartment early Wednesday morning on Bonito Lane at Mile Marker 95.2.

John Merendino was breathing, but unconscious when paramedics found him and rushed him to Mariners Hospital.

According to a news release from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Merendino told a deputy at the scene that he started the fire in a suicide attempt. His two cats perished in the fire.

At 12:05 a.m., a fire detector went off in Merendino's neighbor's apartment, waking the resident. She was able to escape safely and declined to be interview later in the day.

Property owner Chris Sante said he has insurance on the building and will begin gutting the two apartments.

Merendino's neighbor is being placed into temporary housing, pending a more permanent solution. Everything destroyed inside the apartment was a loss and there was no renter's insurance.

As for Merendino, charges are pending an investigation from the State and County Fire Marshall's office.

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