Taunton, Massachusetts Firefighters Confronted by Knife-Wielding Man at Fire Scene

TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) -- A 19-year-old man who allegedly set fire to a couch in his foster parents' home threatened fire and police officers with knives and stabbed and injured himself before firefighters knocked him down by spraying water on him, authorities said.

George Robinson was in the home's yard carrying two knives when firefighters arrived around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

Robinson ''rushed at me and stopped me from going in,'' firefighter Keith Marshall told Boston television station WCVB. ''He took the knife and stabbed himself in the stomach a couple of times and cut his wrist.''

After several unsuccessful attempts to subdue him, firefighters used a special water gun that can spray 600 gallons of water per minute.

Officers disarmed Robinson, and firefighters entered the home and knocked down the flames.

Robinson was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of severe burns, police said.

Police said he was charged with four counts of attempted murder, as well as arson and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Robinson has lived in the home with foster parents Cheryl and Peter Sergi for four years, and was attending Bridgewater State College, said Denise Monteiro, a state Department of Social Services spokeswoman.

Monteiro said a social worker who last visited Robinson three weeks ago and spoke with him two weeks ago reported no indications of any troubles.

''The foster family and we are just shocked and stunned at the turn of events,'' Monteiro said.

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