Stratham, NH (WMUR) — A man wielding a knife outside his burning Stratham home was arrested Thursday, police said.
Stratham police said Edwin Aviles, 51, was outside his burning house at 1 Crestview Terrace when they arrived about 3 a.m.
“They encountered a 51-year-old man in the front yard armed with a knife and what appeared to be a machete,” said police Chief Anthony King.
Neighbors Emily Rohsler and Ryan Theriault said they woke up to the sound of Aviles screaming and called 911.
“The police kept asking him if there was anyone else in the house, and he was kind of not cooperating right away,” Rohsler said.
“He wouldn’t allow them in, so at that time, they had to tase him to take him into custody,” King said.
Theriault said the fire continued to spread while police were dealing with Aviles.
“The whole second floor was just engulfed in flames,” Theriault said. “I mean, it was something you see in the movies.”
Rohsler said Aviles continued to yell after he was restrained.
“He did yell, ‘Yes, yes! My whole family was in the house,'” she said.
He also yelled out a warning to an officer who was preparing to enter the home, Rohsler said.
“He was shouting, ‘Don’t go! Don’t go! I left the valves open on the propane tanks,'” she said.
That turned out not to be the case, according to the state Fire Marshal’s Office. Firefighters searched the home, but no one else was inside and no explosions were reported. Firefighters were also able to confine the damage to one home.
“The building’s fairly isolated from any surrounding structures, so there was no real threat to it spreading to any other building,” said fire Chief Matthew Larrabee.
Investigators are trying to determine how the fire started.
Aviles has been charged with resisting detention, and police said more charges could be filed.
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