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East Rockaway man arrested for allegedly setting fire to his home, attacking firefighters


An East Rockaway man was arrested on Monday for allegedly intentionally setting fire to his home, barricading the entrance ways and assaulting Fire Department personnel after they came to rescue him.

According to the Lynbrook Fire Department and Nassau County Police Department, Lynbrook Fire Chief Nick Pearsall and East Rockaway firefighter James Monaco attempted to save Kevin Meyer, 31, after he set his home on Elbert Place on fire.

The East Rockaway Fire Department was notified of a house fire on Elbert Place shortly after noon. First responders found heavy fire in the front of the home, and neighbors informed them that someone was trapped inside.

Pearsall saw the smoke after completing a fire call in Lynbrook and responded to the home. With the fire billowing out of the front door and windows of the home, Pearsall went to a rear door and forced it open. Without the protection of a hose line, he entered and began to search for Meyer through heavy smoke and intense fire.  

Pearsall found Meyer unconscious in the living room at the front of the house, and proceeded to drag him back through the dining room and kitchen to the rear door. When they were close to the back door, Meyer suddenly regained consciousness and fought Pearsall. He kicked the chief's helmet and face piece, which knocked off his breathing mask.  Meyer then disappeared back into the heavy smoke and fire.  

Afterward, Monaco came in the rear door and met Pearsall. Monaco informed Pearsall that Meyer did not pass him in the heavy smoke, so the two began to search for him again inside the home. They found him in the basement, where even more fire was found. The firefighters worked together and dragged Meyer back upstairs, and out of the back door where they handed him to Nassau County police officers, who were waiting outside.  

Police took Meyer into custody, and he was transported to a local hospital and admitted for smoke inhalation and evaluation for a cognitive disorder. The fire was extinguished by surrounding fire departments, and caused damage to an adjacent home, which was occupied by a family of five, including three children. No other injuries were reported.

The fire is under investigation by the Nassau County Fire Marshall's Office and the Nassau County Police Arson Squad. 

Meyer was charged with second- and third-degree arson, first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, two counts of second-degree obstructing governmental administration and two counts of obstructing firefighter operations. He will be arraigned when doctors deem him medically capable.