Clearwater woman set herself on fire

Police had records of previous mental issues

A Clearwater woman who was found ablaze in her garage died as a result of self-inflicted injuries, according to police. Rhonda Wolfe, 44, was discovered by her husband Wednesday night in their garage completely engulfed in flames. She was transported to Bayfront Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.

Several neighbors watched firefighters descend upon the house and open up the garage door at 2880 Lemonwood Street. What they saw inside was no less than horrifying, according to residents.

"As they opened the door, you saw a haze of smoke and her body lying on the garage floor," said Timothy Rowe, a neighbor. "They were very nice people. Very quiet people."

Rescue officials said Wolfe was still on fire at the time they arrived.

"She had third degree burns on 100 percent of her body. Her clothing was pretty much burned off," said Rob Shaw with Clearwater Police.

Investigators said a suicide note was found, along with two gas cans and a lighter.

Wolfe's mother-in-law, who lives down the street, would only say that it was "a very tragic situation" and had no further comment.

Wolfe had a history of mental problems, according to Clearwater police records. Wolfe was Baker Acted in 2006 after admitting to officers that she tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills. During the interview, she also confessed to cutting her wrists several years earlier.

The Pinellas County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy on the body and has yet to rule on an official cause of death. But police said they have closed their investigation into the matter.

"I'm sure it was not a good scene for anyone to visit," Shaw said.  "It was probably a struggle for all of them whether it was police or fire."

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