Police: Man threatens firefighter after setting own home on fire

Officials said the man threatened to assault a firefighter who was trying to extinguish a blaze that the man started at his trailer home

By Tony Reid
Herald & Review

DECATUR — Police said a Decatur man tried to kill himself by setting his trailer home on fire and then threatened to assault one of the firemen who was trying to put the blaze out.

A sworn police affidavit said the 24-year-old man, who is accused of setting the fire in an office of the trailer in the 2000 block of Hedrick Court on Saturday night, also told police he knew his mother was present in the structure at the time.

“He admitted to starting the fire in an attempt to kill himself after arguing with his boyfriend over the phone,” Decatur police officer Timothy Wisniewski said in the affidavit.

The man was booked on preliminary charges of aggravated arson involving an occupied residence and aggravated assault of a fireman, which are subject to review by the Macon State’s Attorney’s Office.

Decatur Fire Department Battalion Chief Dan Kline told police that firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 8:15 p.m., according to the affidavit. While inside the trailer, Kline said, he saw the man trying to walk to a back bedroom and he told the man he had to leave as “there was an active fire scene.”

Kline told police the man began arguing with him and picked up a glass jar, cocking his arm back as if to throw it. “Kline advised (the man) then stated, ‘You have five seconds to get out of my house or I’m going to bash this over your head.’”

The man did not carry out the threat, but several other firefighters heard him make it while standing about 2 feet away from Kline.

Fire Inspector Mike Wigginton told police he later traced the origin of the fire to a burned notebook on a desk. Wigginton said it appeared the burning paper had been held against the power cord of a power strip under a desk “in order to give the appearance of an electrical fire.”

The man remained in the Macon County Jail on Monday night in lieu of posting $75,000 bond. If he makes bail, he is ordered to stay away from Kline.

Copyright 2018 Herald & Review

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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