John M. Sotelo
John M. Sotelo
August 1, 2013

A 32-year-old Carroll man was allegedly mad early Tuesday morning after a birthday party at his apartment on the north side of Carroll, struck his girlfriend in the face and threw things at her, and passed out drunk in his bed.

Then a fire started in the bed about 12:30 a.m.

And the girlfriend, who had cuts on her face and lips, woke the man and saved his life, Fire Chief Greg Schreck said.

No one was injured.

The boyfriend, John M. Sotelo, was later arrested for domestic abuse assault and public intoxication.

After he escaped the blaze in the four-unit apartment building at 1826 N. Randall Road, he walked about a half block to Grant Road, where officers later arrested him.

Schreck said he and other fire investigators have yet to determine what ignited the blaze.

"I don't know if we'll figure it out," he said today. "It'll probably end up as undetermined."

The fire started in the bedroom of the ground-level apartment and quickly spread out of a window and climbed the back of the building into another apartment.

There was an estimated $100,000 worth of fire damage to those two apartments and smoke and water damage to the others, Schreck said.

Firefighters contained the big flames within about five minutes after they arrived, and they spent another 30 minutes extinguishing the hidden hot spots that might have reignited it, Schreck said.

Sotelo was found guilty on Tuesday of domestic abuse and public intoxication. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 28 of those days suspended and was ordered to participate in a treatment program for domestic abusers.