Man Accused of Breaking Into Neighbor’s House, Setting Fire to His Own Home

The suspect allegedly set his own furniture on fire, which led to a house fire that killed a pet lizard

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Vermont State Police

A man who allegedly broke into a neighbor's house, set fire to his own furniture and killed a pet lizard in the blaze has been arrested.

Alex James, 26, of Putney, Vermont was arrested at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday after police responded to a call of a family disturbance on Mill Street, according to state police.

There, authorities found James outside his home in what police called a "state of excited delirium." State police said they also saw fire crews battling a blaze at James' home.

An investigation determined James allegedly forced his way inside another home on Mill Street, where he tried to destroy property inside, according to state police. Officials say the suspect used a hatchet to try to gain access to a bedroom where several people in the home were barricaded in an effort to keep him from entering.

Officials said James then returned to his home, where witnesses say he set his furniture ablaze. The furniture fire grew and lead to a structure blaze. State police said a pet lizard was found dead in the house as a result of the fire.

James was arrested and charged with first-degree arson, aggravated domestic assault, cruelty to an animal, burglary, unlawful mischief, reckless endangerment, felony unlawful trespass.

He is scheduled to appear at Windham Court on Wednesday for his arraignment. It is unclear if he has an attorney. 

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