Man Sets Fire to His Stockton Home with Daughters, Grandmother Inside

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STOCKTON -- A home on Percival Way in Stockton, damaged by fire, a garage gutted.

But Jaime Vargas, who spoke to FOX40 exclusively, said what was happening inside the home was far more heartbreaking.

Vargas said she and her husband, John Rodriguez, have been going through a difficult time and told FOX40 that they had both been suicidal.

Vargas was not home at the time, but she said on Thursday evening Rodriguez’s emotions hit a breaking point. According to Stockton Police, Rodriguez set fire to his own home with his kids inside.

“My kids are crying and they’re like, 'Mommy, daddy set the house on fire,'” Vargas said.

She reports after Rodriguez set the garage on fire, he yelled to his daughters inside, "I hope you still love me after this,” and took off. She said he hasn’t been seen since.

Rodriguez's daughters managed to make it out safely but their grandmother and their dog, Kocoa, were still trapped inside.

“When they told me grandma was in there kinda everything kinda faded away and I was like, 'OK, I gotta find grandma,'” Luis Zamudio said.

Zamudio told FOX40 that after thinking of his own mother, he found the courage to rush inside the burning home.

“Noticed that she was on a walker and that she might not be able to walk so I scooped her up and we both made our way out of the house,” he explained.

Zamudio rescued the girls’ grandmother, all while other good Samaritans were trying to fight the flames themselves and comfort the girls.

“So, I got the children, I’m hugging them and they’re crying, hugging them," said neighbor Tamara Keene. "One of them didn’t have shoes on their feet, didn’t have water so I run in the house, ran and got some shoes and some water.”

Vargas is very grateful for all of their help but with her husband still on the run, she fears for her daughters safety. She’s begging him to do the right thing for their family.

“Turn yourself in and get yourself right for your kids,” she said.

Unfortunately, crews were unable to rescue Kocoa.

The Stockton Police Department is investigating this case, if you have any information on Rodriguez’s whereabouts, please contact police or Crime Stoppers.