Firefighters found Harold Pizzetta, 58, sitting in a chair in his backyard watching his house burn down.
A Palm Coast man has been charged with burning down his home in 2012 to profit off the insurance payout.
The fire happened at about 10:57 p.m. Oct. 30, 2012. Firefighters arrived to find Harold Pizzetta, now 58, sitting in a chair in the backyard of the home at 20 Woodstone Lane in Palm Coast, watching it burn.
Pizzetta owned the house with his ex-wife. The two were divorced but still living together up until a few couple of weeks before the fire, according to an arrest affidavit.
Exactly four years later, on Oct. 30 of this year, Pizzetta was arrested and charged with insurance fraud and first-degree arson.
Pizzetta had told firefighters he’d been inside the house when it suddenly burst into flames. Later, he told them that someone had broken into the house and set the fire, according to the arrest affidavit.
He was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and minor burns, and cocaine and Benzodiazepines were found in his blood.
A State Fire Marshal investigator arrived at 11:26 p.m. and found a gas can in the living room. The carpet tested positive for gasoline.
In interviews with the State Fire Marshal investigator, Pizzetta said he was the only one home at the time of the fire, but made conflicting statements about how and where it started, and what had happened beforehand.
Investigators also interviewed his ex-wife, who gave them voice and text messages Pizzetta had sent her shortly before the fire. She’d filed a Oct. 17, 2012, complaint with the police department in Mobile, Alabama, where she’d moved: Pizzetta had been making threatening phone calls, she said, and she feared he was going to try to hurt her.
The messages she showed fire investigators said that Pizzetta did not want her to get the house or any money, according to the arrest affidavit.
The last message she’d received from Pizzetta stated, “I have lived a wonderful life, you can have it all, God will take care of you.”
Pizzetta and his ex-wife were both listed on the insurance policy for the house. After the fire, Pizzetta filed an insurance claim, stating that he’d been asleep when he woke up and found the kitchen on fire.
The claim conflicted with statements he’d made to investigators, and with the fact that the fire did not start in the kitchen.
The fire investigator concluded that Pizzetta “burned his house because he did not want his ex-wife to get any part of it.”