St. Louis police: Knife-wielding man set house on fire, threatened firefighters

Police said the man threw objects down at the firefighters while setting multiple fires in the home


Rachel Rice
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — A man is in police custody after starting a house fire Tuesday and pulling a knife on firefighters, preventing them from entering the home in the Greater Ville neighborhood, according to a St. Louis City Fire Department spokesman.

Bernard Jones, 70, set a fire in the basement of his home in the 4500 block of Ashland Avenue around 1:30 p.m, authorities said. When firefighters approached the home they encountered a man with a "big knife" and promptly backed out, said fire Capt. Leon Whitener.

Jones set fire to the residence multiple times throughout the afternoon and threw objects down at firefighters. Whitener said police shot tear gas into the house to get him out, ending the scene around 6 p.m. Jones was treated on the scene for exposure to tear gas.

Firefighters used a ladder truck to pour water on the house from above, but they didn't re-enter the home.

Jones lives at the home with his brother and cousin, who walked out on their own and called police when Jones set the fire, Whitener said.

Police negotiators also tried to get Jones out of the home. Family members told firefighters that Jones didn't have a history of mental health disorders.

Taylor Tiamoyo Harris contributed to this report.

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(c)2021 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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