Skip to comments.Pasco Man Jailed After Trying To Save Pets As Home Burns
Posted on 11/22/2008 2:15:39 PM PST by Daffynition
ZEPHRYHILLS - Henry Ben Morgan wanted to save his pets.
Instead, he ended up in handcuffs and at least three dogs and a cat perished in the blaze that destroyed his home.
Just before 11 a.m. today, firefighters were called to 35615 Chester Drive and arrived 12 minutes later, finding the home engulfed in flames.
At some point, Morgan's wife arrived, followed by Morgan a few minutes later, said Pasco Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Mike Ciccarello.
Morgan started running for the house. Sheriff's deputies and firefighters yelled for him to stay back, but he kept going toward a window.
Deputies and firefighters, according to a report, restrained him so he could not jump through the window and into the blaze.
Morgan, 41, was forcibly removed from the scene, the report states, and was arrested on charges of obstructing the extinguishment of a fire, a felony, and resisting arrest without violence, a misdemeanor, respectively.
He was being held at the Land O' Lakes Jail this evening. Bail was set at $5,150.
About 20 firefighters continued fighting the one-alarm fire but couldn't save the animals or the home, Ciccarello said.
"It looks like a total loss," he said.
The family of five, including two teenage girls and a 7-year-old boy, are being helped by the American Red Cross.
The fire began between a garage-turned-bedroom and a utility room in the small ranch home. The cause was a worn extension cord that had been run under a door, Ciccarello said.
No one was injured.
Couldn’t they stop him without arresting him afterwards?
The family doesn't know how many pets they had?
Sorry about their loss, but at least the family is safe, and the gentleman was prevented from getting himself killed or getting firefighters killed trying to rescue him.
I think a fine citation, like a traffic ticket, would have been sufficient.
As much as I love my two cats I would be insane to go back into my burning apartment building to save them.
Maybe they think a fourth dog got out?
Yes, a ticket or something. I know he put others at risk with his actions, but watching his house burn down, with his pets inside, might have made him do things he wouldn't normally do. Poor guy.
Oh, that makes sense.
watching his house burn down, with his pets inside, might have made him do things he wouldn't normally do
Yes, I feel bad for them, too. I'd hate to lose Wednesday and Shannon, and even the darn reptiles! However, if we want the public to provide us with firefighting service, we can't act like idiots. Firefighters can't (won't) just say, "Well, he decided to go in the burning house, so we'll just let him roast," and so they put themselves at risk to save people who are being incredibly foolish.
I'm guessing that the man was verbally and/or physically abusive to sheriff's officers. That would make them mad enough to put a guy whose house just burned down in jail!
Maybe. It says he was forcibly restrained. |
Who knows what he was doing or saying to those who were trying to keep him from killing himself as well?
Excuse me, but pets are PART of the family, too.
Don’t give me that “they’re just animals” crap, either. This family lost loved ones who were just as precious to them as any human member.
I’d run into my blazing house to save my dog, too. And any cop that tried to stop me would get slugged and laid out with an uppercut that’d make Evander Holyfield jealous.
I’d deal with the legal consequences later, but at5 least I’d save my Tojo.
These cops were a$$hats, (as usual), and I’m going to make sure I e-mail the department and let them know what morons and handcuff-happy imbeciles they are.
Okay, whatever. You’re excused.
I got news for you. The firefighters should have gone in to get the pets. The fact they didn’t shows how derelict in their duty they were. Oh, its their JOB to risk their lives. If they’re too afraid to do so, let ‘em get jobs as used furniture salesmen.
Oh, and some cops deserve to be physically and verbally taken to task when they stand in the way of a man trying to rescue what to us animal people ARE family members.
Have a nice day.
And stood there while he burned with his dogs? And then what, when his surviving (human) family members sued?
Would you have watched the mentally ill college student kill himself on live webcam, too, and said, "It's his choice?"
No one was injured? His furry extended family died.
I’d put all involved on unpaid leave and talk to the DA. There’s how many personnel involved to get a cat out of a drain, but this guy can’t go in to try to save his pets? Unreal
PETA should raise hell.
If he was still threatening civil disorder hours after the house burned down, then I agree, but if he has calmed down a bit, is no risk to anyone until his next house burns down, and ends up serving time, then that's just a waste. JMO.
It all depends on the details of the story, I guess.
I side with you on this one. The largest pets I’ve had were hamsters, but my aunt and uncle had two dogs. I at least loved the male dog, Sparky. The other small one, not so much.
As a cat lover, I have nothing but sympathy for this man, but as a volunteer firefighter, I can understand the position of the fire department. If he had gotten in and gotten hurt, the firefighters would have to put themselves at risk to save him.
This is one situation I hope I don’t see a lot of if I become a firefighter.
They’re going to charge this guy with a FELONY? That is flat out insane.
You have to understand the rules firefighters operate under. Since I became a volunteer, it’s been drilled into our heads over and over again that we have a duty to ourselves first, to others second. It gives me no pleasure to say this, but pets seem to be low on the list.
And a cat stuck in a drain is different because there is little to no danger involved for the firefighters. Had that man gone back in, not only would he have probably not been able to save his pets, but he would have been forcing the firefighters to put their own lives in jeopardy to save his.
Obviously you’re one of the cadre of authoritarian statist JBT boot-lickers here.
Pets are as much family as the humans.
This guy should sue Pasco County into bankruptcy....false arrest is just a starter.
I can only imagine what I’d be like in such a situation.
I meant to ping you to post 19.
It sounds like typical JBT over-reaction.
Then maybe you firefighters need to re-asses their priorities...or find a new career path.
What they did to this guy and his furry family members, along with what you just said is causing me to lose the respect I’ve held them in since 9/11.
Locally this week, we had an early morning house fire. For some reason, no one called 911. When the VFD got there, the house was almost fully involved.
The chief knew there was an elderly man inside and he said he knew he could have gotten in there, but probably wouldn’t have gotten out.
These are men making life and death decisions and they are only human. They have to go home to their families too.
Jack Booted Thugs
Then let ‘em find a different line of work.
What if the FDNY members who ran into the collapsing WTC on 9/11 felt the same way you and some of these firemen did?
You’d be saving no one, or no animal, if the house was engulfed in flames.
If the fire fighters won’t go in without the protection they have on, anyone one who goes in unprotected is committing suicide.
No way unprotected human flesh can handle those temperatures while doing a search for an animal who is likely hiding.
If it collapses on you, you’d be buried in a pile of burning rubble. Not much of a favor to your family and the animals would still be gone. Then your family would have to deal with losing you as well.
And then what? The police and firefighters get condemned for not doing enough to save you from yourself?
It’s a lose/lose situation for them.
Save HUMAN lives.
They are not derelict in their duty by following the orders of the chief on the scene.
They are not derelict in their duty for not *saving* animals that they may not have known were in the house.
They are not derelict in their duty for not being willing to commit suicide.
Tell you what..... Go to firefighting school and become a firefighter and go into the unstable house engulfed in flames yourself to save someone's pets if you feel so strongly about it.
And his family would have sued the pants off the department for not stopping him.
Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
Sounds like a normal rual fire department.
Get a clue.
Nobody ran INTO the TWC as they were collapsing. Matter of fact, after the first tower went down, they evacuated and called back the men in the second tower so that they wouldn't needlessly be killed.
It saved many lives.
If I was a firefighter, I would try to think, not feel, before I acted.
At some point, Morgan's wife arrived, followed by Morgan a few minutes later, said Pasco Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Mike Ciccarello.
Sounds like the fire had been going for some time and there was no way that they would have known there were animals inside as the owners showed up AFTER the fire department.
And before the dept gets shredded for *taking so long*, there's places in our parts that it would easily take that long for the firefighters to reach from the time they got the call, to the time they got to the station, drove to the scene, and managed to get water going.
It’s adding insult to injury.
My comment was just a guess, and if I happen to be correct, that doesn’t make arresting him the right thing.
You talk as though we don’t want to save everyone. Believe me, we do, but a firefighter does no one any good by recklessly putting himself in danger, which then puts more firefighters in danger because they have to go in and rescue him. It’s a never ending cycle unless we follow the rules given to us.
I think it is impossible for people who believe that humans are different from, and more important than, animals to have a reasoned discussion with people who believe they are precisely the same.
Dogs and cats in some countries are on the daily menu.
It’s stupid behaviour like what posted that gets people killed.
I was a firefighter years ago. And I remember a woman who swerved to miss a cat. She hit an oncoming car headon and killed the man driving.
It was Christmas eve and his car was loaded with toys he was bringing to his kids.
Run over the cat, and stay outside.
Rural fire departments have further distances to cover and therefor have longer response times (12 minutes is pretty good), they are poorly equipped, poorly trained and are usually all volunteers. Considering all that, they do a good job when they can. Also since nobody was home the call most likely came after the fire was well started. The reason I said they sounded like a typical rural fire department is that’s what they sound like, doing the best they can with what they got. Sometimes the best they can do is to keep the fire from spreading.
Pasco man pulled from burning house, sent to jail
By Erin Sullivan, Times staff writer
Saturday, November 22, 2008
ZEPHYRHILLS — A few minutes before 11 o'clock Friday morning, Henry Morgan's wife called his cell phone. When he answered, he could barely make out her voice because she was crying.
"The house is on fire," she shouted.
And then the phone went dead.
Morgan didn't know if she was stuck inside the house. He kept trying to call her back, but her phone wouldn't pick up. He and his wife, Sherry, live in the 1,200-square-foot house with their three children — daughters Brandy, 17, and Sierra, 13, and son Cameron, 7 — along with several cats and dogs. One of the cats had just had kittens.
Morgan jumped in his pickup truck and sped to the house on Chester Drive in Zephyrhills. He and Sherry have been married for 20 years and the house is nearly paid off. But he works in construction and is only getting one or two days of work a week. Sherry, who had always been a stay-at-home mom, went to work at a daycare about a month ago. They didn't want to lose their house to foreclosure, so something had to go.
They canceled their homeowner's insurance.
When Morgan got to the house one side of it was engulfed in flames. There were three firetrucks, two rescue vehicles and tons of emergency workers. Morgan, 41, said he didn't see his wife or children or pets so he thought they were inside the house.
And he ran toward it.
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I don’t see where the government has any right to stop a person from putting themselves in danger of getting killed especially if you tell them that saving you is none of their business!
All my life i’ve taken chances of getting hurt or killed if the odds were in my favor and I wasn’t endangering anyone else and it saved time.
Most cases it was something that would be illegal if I told an employee to do it but OSHA couldn’t touch me.
I don’t think you are under any obligation to allow fire department personnel on your property unless the fire is endangering other property. I could be wrong.
But if you're not home and they're already there trying to put out the fire, then what? Make 'em start the fire again because you didn't give them permission to put it out?
If you are at home and then want to keep the FD away so you can watch your house burn, I guess that's okay, but wouldn't you either have gotten your pets out first?
I'm sure the insurance companies would look askance on that.
But if someone is not expecting the insurance company to pay and are willing to take the loss himself, it is his money.
Yes, I think insurers don’t go for turning away firefighters. I guess some people own their property outright and don’t choose to insure it for loss/damage.
The article linked in late in this thread mentioned the owners had cancelled their insurance even though their house wasn’t completely paid off. So they’re not only out the value of their house and contents, they have to pay back the balance to their lender.
Although I think cancelling the insurance while continuing to support at least a dozen pets was financially imprudent, I hope the community will have a collection for them.
A small business in our area burned and was uninsured. Some people tried to get some fund raising done to help the owner out but it didn’t work out too well.
General opinion was that it was pretty stupid to have a business that was uninsured and so I guess a lot of people didn’t feel obligated to bail out someone that irresponsible.