“He needs help:” Bomb squad called out to house fire in Greenfield; man arrested for arson

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GREENFIELD -- Firefighters raced to a Greenfield home Monday night, July 10th after police say someone who lives there intentionally set it on fire. It happened near 46th and Bottsford shortly before 7:00 p.m.

The fire was pretty intense. The flames were so fierce because police say a man who lived there used an accelerant to start the fire, and while neighbors panicked, it seems the suspect was eerily calm. 

"Looks like his pockets were filled with items. Had a suitcase packed. Had half a cocktail drink in his glass and was watching (the fire)," said Jay Beutler, neighbor.

That man was the 26-year-old resident, of what was a shell of a home Tuesday after Monday night's blaze.

"When Greenfield police came, they asked what was going on and he said 'I started my house on fire.' They immediately arrested him and went through his stuff," Beutler said.

Police say he set his home ablaze after a family disagreement. 

"We believe the fire was set in the basement with gasoline," said Detective Sergeant Eric Lindstrom with the Greenfield Police Department.

Lindstrom said thankfully, a woman and child who were in the home at the time of the fire were able to make it out safely. 

While firefighters were battling the blaze...

"Recognized something that didn't look right and they said something to our incident commander," said Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn.

"It looked like it might have been an incendiary or explosive device and they had some concern, so we contacted the Milwaukee bomb squad. They came out to look at the device," said Lindstrom.

Nearby residents were evacuated while authorities determined the device was inert.

"We are grateful nothing happened further than it did," said a neighbor.

While police said they know how it all started, they are now investigating why it had to happen.

"It's devastating for the family. He needs help," said Beutler.

Police said they are looking into what the suspect's mental state was at the time. FOX6 News does know the identity of the man, but we are not releasing his name until he has officially been charged. He is being held in jail on potential charges of arson and recklessly endangering safety.