This is the moment a suspected arsonist swings his cane at a cop and a firefighter after allegedly setting fire to a mattress and sparking a house blaze during a family row.
The house fire took place in Blyth Place in the city of Palm Coast in the US state of Florida on 24th February.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said on 25th February: “48-year-old Mark McKerlie is being held without bond at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility for starting a house fire after a family fight and then attacking a Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Palm Coast Firefighter who were on the scene.
“The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO), Flagler County Fire Rescue, and Palm Coast Fire Department responded… to a house fire on Blyth Place in Palm Coast.
“A fire in the back of the home forced John and Sue Beale, as well as McKerlie, to evacuate to the front yard. An FCSO Deputy then instructed them to move to the street, away from the burning home.”
The Sheriff’s Office continued: “Moments later, the deputy went to the back of a fire engine on the scene to check on McKerlie. There he found McKerlie sitting on the truck’s tailgate.
“That’s when McKerlie raised his wooden cane and swung it in an aggressive manner, striking the deputy in the head and the firefighter near his armpit.
“The deputy would quickly disarm the man and take him into custody.”
The police said: “Investigators determined that McKerlie actually started the fire when he ignited a mattress. McKerlie told authorities that it all stemmed from an altercation with family members earlier in the evening.
“With smoke billowing at the front door, firefighters were able to quickly contain the flames to the rear of the home.”
Flagler County sheriff Rick Staly said: “Taking a swing at one of our deputies or a firefighter who was trying to help was a big mistake.
“Thankfully, my deputy and the firefighter did not suffer any major injuries.”
McKerlie faces two counts of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer/Firefighter and one count of Arson.