Man arrested in connection to setting wife on fire in Decatur

The victim is at the UAB Burn Center where she was last in critical condition
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 12:02 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2023 at 2:00 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Decatur Fire & Rescue (DFR) responded to a call early Tuesday morning for a “person on fire,” and later arrested the man accused of intentionally starting the fire that burnt his wife.

Around 3:30 a.m., crews were dispatched to Summer Courtyard Apartments on Acadia Drive for a “person on fire,” according to DFR. Decatur Police say the female burn victim was reportedly lit on fire by her husband 40-year-old, Riley Herbert Willis. The victim was found upon arrival with first and second-degree burns covering approximately 40% of her body.

Police say Willis was hiding inside another apartment unit within the complex. Investigators responded to the scene and determined Willis used an accelerant to set his wife and their apartment on fire before he left the scene through a back window to avoid being seen.

Willis has been charged with arson and domestic violence. He was booked into the Morgan County Jail at 12:02 p.m. Tuesday without bond.

The woman was immediately transported to the UAB burn center in Birmingham by Decatur Morgan EMS.

Decatur Fire say they extinguished a small fire in what was believed to be the patient’s residence. The fire is listed as incendiary in nature.

The incident remains under investigation by the Decatur Police Department.

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