Man being evaluated following attempt to ‘blow his house up’

By Brandi Makuski

Metro Fire units and Stevens Point police were called to the 600 block of Washington Ave. at about 5:30 on Saturday after a caller reported a gas leak in an apartment.

Firefighters from Stevens Point, Plover, and Hull responded to the scene after the caller reported there were burning candles in the apartment containing the gas leak.

Stevens Point Fire Captain Paul Mattlin said upon arrival, crews immediately shut off the gas and attached hoses to a nearby fire hydrant “just in case” while they investigated.

“There were some dangerous (gas) levels in the house, so we ventilated the structure, and called WPS to the scene,” Mattlin said. The structure contained two apartments, he said, and following adding occupants were allowed to re-enter one of the units, while the occupant of the other unit was detained by police.

The area was evacuated one block in each direction as a safety precaution.

Assistant Police Chief Tom Zenner said the apartment’s occupant, a 41-year-old man known to police, had threatened to “blow his house up” via an explosion caused by the natural gas and open flame.

The man was taken into custody and is currently undergoing a mental health evaluation, Zenner said.

No injuries or property damage was reported, Zenner said. Police expect to file a request for a charge of attempted arson with the Portage Co. District Attorney’s Office.

A Stevens Point ambulance and Wisconsin Public Service also responded to the scene.

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