Kearns man accused of setting home on fire

By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News
KEARNS ó A man who allegedly set his house on fire and then refused to come out was eventually subdued with a Taser and arrested by sheriff's deputies early Friday.
Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning NewsFirefighters respond to a two-alarm house fire in Kearns Friday. Police arrested the occupant of the home. The incident began about 1 a.m. when a woman returned home, near 4800 West and 5900 South, and found her husband in a very agitated state, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Jaroscak.
That continued until about 7 a.m. when the 35-year-old man allegedly went "out of control," Jaroscak said.
The woman and two children left the house and went to a nearby convenience store to call police.
The man claimed he was going to burn his house down. Deputies were originally told he might have a knife, Jaroscak said.
Neighbors said they heard a lot of commotion coming from the house about 7 a.m. Several people reported hearing yelling, objects being thrown and the front window of the house breaking.
When the first officer arrived, the man came outside, then ran back into his house, said neighbor Larry Bartlett. That's when he noticed a glow coming from the living room.
"I saw the fire start right in the middle of the living room," Bartlett said. "He wouldn't come out."
Bartlett said he also thought he heard the man yell, "I'm not going to give up my house."
Some clothes and a mattress were set on fire in the living room, Jaroscak said. The flames spread very quickly.
Merrick Mace lives next door.
"I heard the guy arguing with police. They kept begging him to come out. He said he wasn't going to leave the house, and they were like, 'C'mon, c'mon,' and he said, 'I ain't going nowhere, this is my house,' " Mace said. "There were literally flames right behind him and he wasn't moving."
As deputies attempted to enter the home by forcing their way through a side door, the man eventually walked out to his front porch. Jaroscak said he then tried to run.
Two deputies positioned near the front door used their Tasers twice on the man to subdue him, Jaroscak said.
Deputies then went back into the house, which was now a two-alarm fire, and rescued a pet dog and bird.
The man was taken to University Hospital for a mental evaluation and treated for smoke inhalation, Jaroscak said. He was expected to be booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of arson when released from the hospital.
Two deputies trying to break into the home also suffered minor injuries, one an injured back and the other a hand, Jaroscak said.
Family members told police the man has a drug problem. Investigators said they would conduct toxicology tests to determine if the man was using drugs at the time of the incident