A Florida man was arrested after he tried to save his dogs from his burning house by grabbing a firefighter’s ax to break a window.
Wendell Joyner, 58, said that he immediately ran out when he woke to find his home ablaze about 5 a.m. Wednesday, but quickly realized his three dogs were still inside.
“So, I went back inside to look for my dogs,” he told WKMG-TV.
He said he made several trips in and out of the Cocoa house due to the overwhelming smoke coming from the blaze, which officials believed was started when a television burst into flames.
Officials say they told Joyner to stay back and out of the home. They say they finally took action when he threw a firefighter’s ax through a front window in an effort to reach his dogs.
Deputies tackled Joyner, allegedly bloodying up his face in the process.
He told WKMG-TV that he was taken to a nearby hospital for a CAT scan and then hauled off to Brevard County Jail.
Joyner was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He has not pleaded yet.
“My defense—I was trying to save my dogs,” he told the television station.
Officials reportedly said they suspected Joyner to be intoxicated and feared what he would do with the ax. Joyner could have been charged with a felony for picking up the firefighter’s ax.
“I think at most, they should’ve taken me aside, and if they felt that I needed it – to be in a squad car until things settled,” he said.
Joyner’s dogs were reportedly found safe and are with family.
In a separate incident in Ohio, a man was critically injured when he also tried to rescue his dog from his home after it caught fire early Thursday, authorities said.
The man and a woman were able to get out of the house, but the man went back inside to get their dog around 4:30 a.m. in Hamden Township.
The man suffered burns and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. The dog did not survive. It was not immediately clear what caused that fire.