A Washington Avenue resident with a criminal history and wanted on a warrant was taken into custody this morning after police were called to a domestic incident where he allegedly threatened to shoot police and later set fire to his own apartment.
Eddie Miles eventually came down a ladder from the back of the apartment on his own, which allowed firefighters to begin attacking the fire in the second floor and attic of 207 Washington Ave., Batavia.
He was taken to the hospital for evaluation of injuries sustained in the domestic incident and the subsequent blaze.
Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence said the dispatch center received a call about a domestic incident at the upper apartment at 8:55 this morning. Two officers quickly responded and Miles allegedly smashed a window and threatened to use a firearm against them.
At that point, a perimeter was established in the neighborhood with the aid of the Sheriff's Office and State Troopers. There was a reverse 9-1-1 call placed to neighbors near the scene, telling them to lockdown, shelter in place.
Police grabbed a ladder from neighbors at the scene, though the woman jump from the stoop roof into the arms of police officers. She was taken to the hospital for the evaluation of injuries sustained in the domestic incident, Lawrence said.
A fire, believed to have been intentionally set by Miles, broke out in the rear of the upper apartment. Miles refused to leave and kept calling 9-1-1, demanding to speak with the female, who had by then been transported to the hospital.
As smoke poured from the house, police were concerned for the safety of firefighters with a potentially armed suspect still at large. The firefighters could not approach the house. An unarmed Miles came out on the roof. Between the very cold weather and the house fire, Lawrence said the bare-footed Miles had some incentive to climb down the ladder unaided.
He was taken into custody.
Fire scene commander Lt. Greg Ireland said it goes against a firefighter's nature to sit back and watch a house burn but until the suspect was in custody that was all city crews could do. They were initially called to the scene to assist with rescuing the woman from the house, which was not yet on fire when they were called. Once they were cleared to attack the fire, firefighters made quick work of it and contained the fire to the second floor and attack.
Lawrence said police are not certain Miles actually had a firearm; none was found.
At about 1 p.m., City Fire cleared the scene, but police and code enforcement remain on Washington Avenue and the duty sergeant has informed dispatch, this incident will tie up the officers who responded for much of the rest of the day. Additional patrols are on duty.
In addition to other arrests over the past few years, Miles was a suspect in a choking incident and the injection of a purple liquid into a dog in August.
UPDATE 7 p.m.: In response to rumors being spread on social media, we asked if the police used tear gas. Chief Shawn Heubusch said there was no tear gas used. Further, police believe evidence points to Miles starting the fire, not the police.
Photos by Howard Owens. Howard Owens contributed to the reporting of this story.
Video submitted by Jim Horncastle.
UPDATE: Photo submitted by Jim Horncastle.