Burke Co. man accused of setting home on fire with 5 children inside

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — A Burke County man has been charged with arson after police say he poured gasoline throughout a mobile home with five children inside and then set it on fire.

Deputies and firefighters scrambled to get to the home Wednesday on Pritchard Drive off U.S. 70 in the Dyartsville community after being told a man had poured gasoline throughout the home and locked himself and five children inside.

When they arrived, officers said the home was not on fire and nobody was hurt.

Police said Floyd Tate, 37, was charged with first-degree arson, communicating threats and child abuse.

According to the arrest warrant, Floyd Tate told Jessica Tate that "He was going to burn her and the kids and him and then set fire to the house."

Outside the home, Channel 9 could see the gasoline can that Tate is accused of using.

Jessica Tate told Channel 9 that the carpet inside the home caught fire, but Floyd Tate then put it out.

"They got in there quickly and got them out. Again, the fire was not burning when the deputy went in, but there was a strong odor of gasoline present," Sheriff Steve Whisenant, with the Burke County sheriff’s office, said.

Whisenant said Floyd Tate admitted to wanting to burn the mobile home down, but he then put the fire out himself.

“It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it,” neighbor Tina Clendenin said.

Neighbors said the couple had been arguing over whether to go to the river for July 4.

"I would never imagine that he would do something like that. He's a really good man and works hard every day. He takes really good care of his kids and is always doing something with them,” Clendenin said.

Floyd Tate was given a $100,000 bond but the magistrate ordered he not be released for the first 48 hours, even if he posts bail.

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