Neighbors say 50-year-old Albert Lopez is a veteran who has struggled with his mental health.
“He just had a gallon of gas… just dumping it,” said a woman who identified herself as Vanessa R.
His wife was taken by cancer. His son was taken by family when it was decided Albert couldn’t care for the boy.
“He had this rag in his hand. He just lit it on fire,” Vanessa said.
But it’s the extreme to which Albert took things Friday that has his neighbor saying he could’ve killed them.
“Just a big fire and a bunch of black smoke,” Vanessa said.
Lopez has been arrested and is being held on $1 million bail- charged with the arson in the fire that destroyed a South Sacramento home. It was his own home.
“Oh yeah. He just stood on the sidewalk and watched it burn like it was normal,” Vanessa said.
She says she was loading her four-year-old daughter in the car Friday afternoon when she saw Lopez dosing his own garage with gas.
The fire ripped through a South Sacramento home, stoked by that gas. Lopez went next-door, telling neighbors to get out, telling them that it wasn’t safe.
The flames spread to within a couple feet of their house, and it might’ve gotten there if not for a passing water truck. That truck was doing dust control on a nearby construction project to extend the light rail Blue Line to the new Franklin Station near Cosumnes River College. The driver of that truck, according to neighbors, started fighting the fire himself, keeping it at bay until firefighters got there.
“I would just like to tell him thank you for saving my house and making sure my kids are okay,” Vanessa.