The family from Lutz whose home was set ablaze early Sunday morning won’t spend the night without a roof.
The American Red Cross has stepped in to provide temporary shelter, food and clothing for the family, said Janet McGuire, spokeswoman for the organization’s Florida West Coast Region chapter.
“We’re going to work with the family,” McGuire said. “We’ll provide them with clothes, food and shelter and we’ll work on a long-term recovery plan with them.”
Two adult women and at least one underage child were burned out of their home at 21620 Teal Court early Sunday, Sept. 30. Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Robert Benjamin Brooks, 40, around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and charged him with attempted homicide, arson and violation of pre-trail release.
The incident began around 8:30 a.m. when Brooks went to his mother’s home asking to speak with his wife, said sheriff’s office spokesman Doug Tobin. The mother told him to leave because a domestic violence injunction had been filed against him. Instead of leaving, Brooks broke a window and pushed a gas can through. He then entered the home, doused the living room with gasoline and set the fire, Tobin said.
After setting the fire, Brooks exited the back of the home. Deputies searched the Cypress Cove neighborhood for hours trying to locate him. They called in K-9 units and also had air support from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
He was found hiding in a heavily vegetated area on the property, Tobin said.
Brooks was being transported to the Medical Center of Trinity for medical clearance. After that, Tobin said, he would be booked into the Land O’ Lakes Jail.
McGuire said donations can be made to the Red Cross to help out, but they can’t be designated specifically to the family. If another organization, such as a church, does step forward to help the Brooks family exclusively, the Red Cross will partner with them, McGuire said.
The Red Cross accepts donations directly on its website.