ELYRIA — A man is facing several charges after threatening emergency crews with a gun while they responded to his garage on fire.
Albert Masciarelli, 71, of Elyria, was charged with having weapons while intoxicated, aggravated menacing and resisting arrest with a deadly weapon brandished, after threatening firefighters and police.
The Elyria Fire Department responded to the garage fire at 4:50 p.m. Monday. Capt. Dean Marks was part of the first crew on scene, where a garage at 515 Ironwood Court was engulfed.
There was a crowd of people in the front yard, Marks said, which he tried to disperse — including Masciarelli, who was standing on his porch. While firefighters set up a 2.25-inch line and kept their distance from the blaze, Marks attempted to move everyone back onto the sidewalk, including Masciarelli. Masciarelli refused to move — with a beer in one hand, he grabbed the gun in a holster at his hip, threatening first responders, Marks said.
“He caught me a little off guard,” Marks said. “He was screaming obscenities at me, but when I did ask him to remove his hand from his weapon, he did.”
Marks called for police, who, according to their report, responded about three minutes later.
Masciarelli and a woman were in front of the house where the detached garage was burning, and they were told they needed to move away from the house for crews to put the fire out, according the police report. As the woman moved away and officers moved in, Masciarelli drew the revolver from his holster, pointing it at one of the officers. He was told to drop the weapon multiple times, before finally re-holstering it and reaching for the screen door of the house, telling officers he was going inside to get another beer.
Officers told Masciarelli to stop, but he continued to try to get into his house. Officers ran toward him, securing the gun before wrestling him to the ground. Later, Masciarelli admitted to drinking 18 beers, according to the report, and was transported to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center for his level of intoxication.
Meanwhile, fire crews continued working the fire, which took about half an hour to get under control. The fire prevention unit was called in, Marks said, because crews were concerned that some flammable liquids, including gasoline, were stored in the garage. There also was an initial report of ammunition stored in the structure, which was not a problem for firefighters.
The fire melted neighbors’ siding and caught an adjacent wood fence on fire, Marks said.
“This is not a normal occurrence that you’re trying to handle a house fire and a garage fire and someone is threatening you with a weapon,” Marks said. “(It) kind of caught us off guard a little bit but, (had) good outcome I guess.”