Seneca man sets wife on fire

May 18, 2014

WALHALLA — The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office charged a 38-year-old Seneca man with attempted murder after a house fire late Friday in the Utica Mill Hill area.

Jacob Daniel Drotning of 8044 Utica St. in Seneca is accused of pouring gasoline on a female who is reportedly Drotning’s wife and setting her on fire.

According to investigators, the female victim had burns on about 50 percent of her body. Investigators said she was in very serious condition Saturday morning.

Deputies, fire department crews and paramedics responded to the Utica Street address after dispatchers received a call around 10:46 p.m. Friday regarding a house fire with a female trapped inside.

When officers arrived they observed a female lying on the porch with burns on her body.

The female victim said her husband had done this to her but could not tell deputies how or why it was done. Investigators and the Crime Scene Unit were called to the scene.

Drotning told deputies through spontaneous utterances that he had to start the grill with gasoline and it blew up on the woman. Officers checked the grills but they were cool to the touch and had dew on them.

Fire personnel said the fire was started in a room in the residence. Drotning also did not have any visible injuries consistent with his story.

Drotning remains at the Oconee County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation.