More than 80 sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and firefighters spent three hours at a Carlisle residence Tuesday talking a local woman out of lighting herself and her home on fire.
The situation began around 11 a.m. with a 911 call, according to Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond. “A family member or friend asked that we check on this woman,” he said. “They said she was pouring gas around the inside of her home.”
State troopers were the first to arrive on the scene. They smelled gas as they approached.
“The woman was in the basement,” Desmond said. “She said she would light a match if anyone came in.”
He described the woman as middle-aged. He said her house was a small modular home set well back from Route 20 roughly three miles east of the hamlet of Carlisle. He withheld further information to protect her privacy.
When she threatened to set the place on fire, the troopers called in fire crews. In the end, firefighters from Esperance, Carlisle, Central Bridge, Sharon Springs and Cobleskill, along with Desmond’s deputies and a SWAT team, all gathered at the small home.
“We kept our distance,” he said. “We didn’t know what would happen — if it would explode.”
In an interview at noon, Desmond called the situation “a mess,” but by 2:30 p.m. everything was resolved. Eventually, he said, state police were able to talk the woman into leaving her house.
Her clothing was saturated with gasoline, so an ambulance crew had to strip the woman and wrap her in a blanket before taking her to Ellis Hospital for evaluation.
In all, Desmond guessed she poured about five gallons of gas throughout her home. Fire crews set to work immediately to ventilate the house.
“Sometimes if you spend a little time, things like this can be resolved,” he said. “Sometimes it goes wrong. I’ve seen it happen both ways. We’re all happy it worked out the way it did.”