House fire turns into standoff
Armed property owner tells firemen to stay away from blaze

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

March 2, 2005 -- Sheriff's officials shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday apprehended the man alleged to have pointed a gun at a firefighter Monday night, refusing to allow him on his County Road 1196 property to put out the blaze which was rapidly destroying his residence.

Officials credited a tip from a Wood County bank as responsible for their location of the 50-year-old suspect.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday received a tip advising that the suspect had been to a bank in Yantis and was expected to return later in the morning. Officers were also given a description of the vehicle the man left in.

Sheriff's deputies and investigators followed up on the the tip, heading into Wood County where they began canvassing the area, looking for the vehicle in question. A few minutes before 11 a.m. Wednesday, Hopkins County Sheriff's Cpl. Michele Peek spotted a vehicle matching the description of his vehicle on FM 2966 just east of CR 1830 in Wood County. She made a traffic stop, and upon confirming it was the man wanted in Hopkins County, ordered him out of the vehicle and onto the ground. Hopkins County Sheriff's investigators arrived to assist Peek as she was placing the man in custody.

The man was transported without incident to the county jail, where he was being booked on the Class A misdemeanor deadly conduct warrant shortly before lunch Wednesday. He was noted to have a preset bond of $5,000 on the charge.

Local authorities have been looking for the man since he went into the woods Monday night with the 12-gauge pump shotgun he was holding when he refused to allow firefighters onto his property to extinguish the fire that was burning his residence.

After the man left the location Monday, firefighters were further delayed in putting out the fire for safety reasons as ammunition was "cooking off." Sheriff's officials attempted but were unable to locate the man in the woods using infrared equipment Monday night.

Sheriff's officials sought and obtained a warrant for deadly conduct against the man Tuesday for pointing the firearm at the fireman.

The man reportedly set the house on fire following an argument with his children, who he warned he would burn the house if they left. No charges are expected to be filed against the homeowner for starting the fire as long as there was no lien on the house and as long as he does not attempt to file a claim with an insurance company, Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams indicated Tuesday.

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