TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma police arrested a man who they say doused a truck with gasoline and lit it on fire with three people inside.
"We’re dead. This truck is going to explode right now,” Michael Collier remembered thinking.
Shock and terror flooded Collier's mind as his work truck erupted in flames.
Collier and his two co-workers stopped for gas at the 76 Station on the 1300 block of Puyallup Avenue in Tacoma on Tuesday morning.
The driver got out to fuel up their Burlington Northern Santa Fe truck and then sat back down. Suddenly, they were surrounded by smoke, flames and scorching heat.
"I thought I was going to burn to death,” Terry Klein said.
Tacoma police said a man, who they believe is homeless, walked over to the truck, ripped out the gas nozzle, and then set it on fire.
"It would be terrifying for anyone,” Officer Wendy Haddow said.
Surveillance video captures a person in dark clothing walk over to the truck. From a different camera angle, someone can be seen picking up the gas hose, setting it on fire and taking off.
The three people inside the truck said they panicked as they tried to escape. They finally flung the doors open and dashed out.
"I’m frantic trying to open it. I’m, like, dang it, I got to get out of here,” Collier said.
Someone inside the store rushed to put out the flames.
They called Tacoma police and searched for the man who set the blaze.
Police told KIRO 7 that the man was arrested.
"Cops took a couple hours to even show up to the scene, so the guy could be anywhere,” Klein said.
Their BNSF truck is scorched and flames singed the driver’s hair, but workers said they’re thankful they escaped the arson attack in the nick of time
"I’m just talking a mile a minute right now because it’s just going round and round and round and round in my head. It’s not going away,” Collier said.
On Tuesday night, a BNSF agent spotted Greg James Ketzenberg, 54, walking toward a homeless shelter on Puyallup Avenue and arrested him.
According to court documents, when the agent told Ketzenberg he matched the description of the person who started a fire at the 76 gas station, Ketzenberg replied, “Yes.”
Ketzenberg has been charged with one count of arson and three counts of attempted murder.
Deputies said he refused to appear in court for his arraignment Tuesday. He is scheduled to face a judge Thursday.
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