LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A man who partially filled a Lakewood Ranch home with natural gas and threatened to blow it up held sheriff’s deputies at bay for nearly two hours Thursday before surrendering.
Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies cordoned off Parkside Place and Blue Sage Place in Summerfield and evacuated residents from the cul-de-sacs shortly after 8:30 p.m.
“A sheriff’s deputy knocked on our door and told us ‘you have to leave your house -- you are in immediate danger,’” said Parkside Place resident Brian Stone. “I was watching TV and my wife, Sandy, was sleeping. But we had to hurry and leave.”
Residents gathered in Summerfield Park, many of them in pajamas and wrapped in blankets.
Lt. Joel Perez of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office told the Herald a 911 call was received at about 8 p.m. about a young man threatening to blow up a house.
Trained negotiators were in contact with the man by phone and also talked with him through the door, Perez said.
The man was alone in the house, telling deputies he had filled portions of the house with gas from a portable heater and a stove, and was going to light a match.
The man also told deputies he had poured gasoline around the outside of the residence, but that proved to be untrue, Perez said.
The negotiators finally convinced the man to surrender at about 10 p.m. He suffered minor injuries from inhaling natural gas and was taken from the scene by ambulance. “He is in our custody but not under arrest,” Perez said.
“The young man barricaded himself in the house and we had to safely resolve the situation. It appears he was trying to harm himself,” he added.
Residents of the neighborhood were allowed back to their homes at about 10:20 p.m.
Nader Dwyer, who lives across the street from the barricaded house, returned home from work at about 10:30 p.m. to find police cars and a fire engine on his street.
When he found out what happened, he looked perplexed. “I don’t know what’s happening with young people today. When I was a young man, I would get upset for an hour and it would go away. It’s really sad.”