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Police: Reading man intentionally set on fire

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 30 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 01 2013 01:48:45 PM CDT

Police: Man intentionally set on fire

READING, Pa. -

Police are on the hunt for the person who doused a man with flammable liquid and set him on fire.

The crime happened around 8 p.m. Tuesday inside Citi Subs at South 10th and Cotton streets in Reading.

The victim's girlfriend identified him as Joel Fontanez.

"Joel was the nicest guy I've ever known. I don't understand why anybody would do this to him," said Jazmin Candelario.

One witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained how he tried to save Fontanez from the flames.

"He could hardly speak. There were flames in his face. He could hardly breathe. I was standing next to him. The heat was so intense," said the witness. "I could feel the intensity from the flames, but it didn't matter. I got burned putting them out, but at the time none of that went through my mind, I was more concerned about the safety of the fellow."

"At this point in time, we're trying to get some information from the public, hoping that the public can help us out in identifying the suspect," said Sgt. Matthew Schappell, Reading Police Dept.

Fontanez, 35, was last reported to be hospitalized in stable condition with burns covering 45 to 50 percent of his body, according to Candelario, who said he's on a breathing tube and in a medically induced coma.

If you have information on the crime, you can contact Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. Information leading to an arrest could earn you a cash reward.