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Hernando school board candidate's car fire deemed arson

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:04 PM

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Moments after school board candidate Gus Guadagnino entered a bar last week on Spring Hill Drive, investigators say a man exited the establishment and went to work to set the politician's car on fire.

A spokesperson with the State Fire Marshal's Office confirmed that investigators believe last Thursday night's vehicle fire outside of Jerry's Place, 10553 Spring Hill Drive, to be arson.

Lt. Michael Burzumato, a Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said outside video footage shows a man walking to a trash bin to retrieve a bag of garbage, placing it under the wheel well of Guadagnino's 2007 Infinity and setting it on fire.

New video made available by the sheriff's office shows a white male grabbing the trash bag from the outside bin.

"He stood there for five minutes and watched the fire really go before then walking away," Burzumato said. "There's no way to say for sure though whether this was aimed specifically at (Guadagnino). It would be pure speculation to say it is or it isn't."

Guadagnino's vehicle was marked with campaign material advertising his run for election.

Roughly 20 minutes after entering Jerry's Place to take a break from putting up campaign signs, Guadagnino said last week, someone told him that his vehicle was on fire.

He said at one point the flames were as high as the Infinity's windows and resulted in most of the undercarriage being melted while the frame was left mostly intact.

Burzumato urged anyone with information to come forward and help identify the man in the video bulletin.

By calling the arson hotline, tipsters could receive as much as a $5,000 reward and would remain anonymous.

To view the video, go to the sheriff's office website at and search the sheriff's office alerts.

Tips can be submitted by calling the Arson Hotline at 1-800-NO-ARSON. (352) 544-5271

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