The wife of the man accused of setting a Warrensville Heights apartment complex on fire told News 5 Monday he intended to die in that blaze.
The fire broke out shortly after 4 p.m. Monday on Banbury Court.
“I’m so sorry. If I could change it, I would,” the woman said, crying.
The woman said her husband, David Chilston, threatened her and her children.
“I was threatened that I was going to be killed and I got myself out of the house,” she said.
Chilston is now being held on $1 million bond. He is charged with one count of inducing panic, one count of having weapons under disability, one county of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, one count of arson and two counts of domestic violence.
His wife ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911. When police arrived, Chilston barricaded himself inside before allegedly setting the apartment on fire.
“He didn’t want them to take him out of there alive,” she said.
But a SWAT team did get him out before that fire quickly spread to neighboring units. High winds helped the flames jump to the building next door.
Henrietta Jordan’s unit was a total loss, but she was thankful nobody lost their lives or suffered any injuries.
“It’s all gone! It’s been taken away from me,” Jordan said, adding, “That’s the beautiful thing about it. I am blessed because I’m still here.”
Officials worked to reunite lost pets with their owners, as The Red Cross stepped in to help people pick up the pieces.
Several families were placed in hotels overnight, including as many as a dozen children, Warrensville Heights school board president Ray Freeman said.
The school board will take donations for affected families starting Tuesday at their offices, located at 4500 Warrensville Center Road.
First responders encountered water pressure problems
Meanwhile, residents also expressed concern about what appeared to be low water pressure while firefighters tried to battle those intense blames.
News 5 video showed water just trickling from a Bedford Heights ladder truck. That situation continued for several minutes. On Monday, Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers blamed a faulty water pump.