Updated 07/09/2012 07:11 PM
Man taken into custody after Mayfield fire
A bizarre string of events in Mayfield that left one resident in the hospital. As YNN's Maria Valvanis tells us, a man threatened neighbors and police officers before threatening his own life.
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MAYFIELD, N.Y. -- Cherish Weckesser said, "It was too black, too dark, too much. I said that was no normal fire."
Neighbors knew instantly that the smoke filling the air Sunday night wasn't from a typical bonfire. Police say after a day of drinking, James Russell Sr., 51, allegedly set fire to his garage before setting fire to his home.
"He was indicating that he either wanted to harm himself or return to the home that was burning and burn with the home," said Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey.
"He's been saying for the last couple weeks that he just wanted to end it all, so this probably wasn't a shock to anyone," said Weckesser.
Police say Russell was upset over the recent arrest of his son and was worried he was going to be implicated in the matter too. Neighbors say when they went over to help, Russell threatened them to stay back before running inside the burning building. Once police got there, an agitated Russell ran back outside holding a knife, warning officers that he was dangerous.
"Jimmy came running out with a knife, trying to cut himself up," said Weckesser.
Lorey said, "In an attempt to get the knife away from the man, he ran it against his throat and injured himself. He actually threatened one of my officers and said he was going to stab him. It was a pretty tense for a few minutes."
State Police used a taser to get the distraught Russell into custody.
"Physical force needed to be used and there was the danger of other people being injured," said Lorey.
Russell was airlifted to Albany Med. He now faces two charges of third degree arson, a class C felony.
Neighbors tell us they are thankful that matters did not turn out worse.
"He did have some problems. I don't think he was a bad person. I'm just thankful he got out," said Weckesser.