Tenant obstructs firefighters, arrested by deputies

Jan. 27, 2014 @ 05:31 PM

Firefighters reported being stopped from putting out a structure fire Saturday afternoon by a tenant on West Andrews Avenue, resulting in his detainment by sheriff’s deputies.

Thomas Earl Williams, 60, of 1418 W. Andrews Ave., where the fire occurred, was charged with two counts of resisting officers. He was also arrested on a charge of failing to appear in court. His bond was set at $1,000 with a Feb. 20 hearing in Vance County District Court.

Danny Wilkerson, fire chief for the City of Henderson, said Williams caused a seven-minute delay that was tacked on to a response time of less than four minutes. The result was more damage to the home owned by Robert Stitt of Henderson.

“The delay certainly caused there to be more damage,” Wilkerson said. He also said it was a first for his career.

Two city and the Vance County fire departments responded to the location, which is just inside the city limits. The deputy’s report confirmed Williams was tased in order to restrain him and allow firefighters to work.

The origin of the fire was determined as a bedroom window area. The cause remains under investigation.

Damage was estimated at $40,000 to the $80,000 structure property, plus content damage estimated at $10,000. About $5,000 of contents were noted as salvageable.


Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com