Two firefighters are safe after being lured into a man’s home and attacked, news outlets reported.
The Chicago Fire Department responded to a fully engulfed garage fire Aug. 30. After the fire was put out, the resident told the firefighters he thought there was a smell of gas coming from inside the home and asked them to check, according to WGN9.
The chief and lieutenant followed the resident to the home, where the man told them to enter first. But the chief refused and told the resident to go first and they would follow, ABC7 reported.
The outlet reported the resident used a power screwdriver to remove a barricade to let them into the basement.
The firefighters didn’t smell gas, and noticed the man went back upstairs. When they followed, the resident was standing in the kitchen with a knife and had barricaded the exits, according to WGN9.
The resident ordered them to get back into the basement, but they refused and tried to leave, but the door was blocked. Then, the resident began chasing them with the knife. The chief and lieutenant had to use furniture to fight him off while they radioed for help, ABC7 reported.
Firefighters broke a window and jumped in and pulled the chief and lieutenant out. Then the resident barricaded himself in the bathroom with two knives threatening to hurt himself, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Fire crews broke down the door and the resident was taken into custody. The Chicago Sun-Times also reported that the floor in the home was covered with gasoline.
The Office of Fire Investigations said it believes the garage fire was set intentionally, which leads the fire department to believe it was set on purpose to lure the firefighters to the home, WGN9 reported.
“It’s speculation that this individual was trying to lure our people into a situation where they could be trapped, and he was preparing to light the accelerant with them in the basement,” Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The resident of the home was convicted of murder nearly 20 years ago. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but in 2019 was granted a new trial. He is out on bond for that case, court records show, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Police found a gun and several knives inside the home, according to ABC7. The two firefighters were not reported to be injured.