A neighborly dispute turned violent Friday afternoon when a man reportedly threw an ax through a neighbor’s window and then a can of burning stove fuel.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Daniel Denuzzi, 45, of Star Valley, on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, attempted homicide, arson of an occupied structure, criminal damage, disorderly conduct and threats and intimidation.
Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch said he was responding to a fire call around 1 p.m. when dispatch told him to hold off because a man had been seen running down the street carrying an ax and flinging it over his head.
“We were told that the scene was not safe, but I heard the Gila County Sheriff’s Office go past and they were on scene,” Hatch said.
When Hatch arrived at the home, in the 300 block of South Moonlight Drive, he saw a deputy holding Denuzzi down in the middle of the street at gunpoint and smoke coming from the front porch of the home.
“At this point, we thought we only had a small area of vegetation burning to the side of the front porch and could see that several windows had been broken out and the front screen door had been bent and mangled half way up,” Hatch said.
Firefighters from engine 211 quickly put out the brush fire and noticed light smoke inside the home. The crew broke in, at which time the fire kicked up and heavy smoke began to pour from the windows, Hatch said. Crews found a burning can of stove fuel near a front window of the home.
Firefighters put that fire out in three minutes, afterward they looked for any occupants.
“The crew found three dogs in the house, removed them to the back porch area and they were all safe,” he said.
The homeowner was found near the rear of the home.
Reportedly, he had been inside when Denuzzi threw an ax through the window and then the burning can, Hatch said. The homeowner was uninjured.
The homeowner told firefighters he had gone to the sheriff’s office earlier in the day complaining about threats Denuzzi had made.
According to online court records, Denuzzi has been convicted of disorderly conduct three times and threatening and intimidating behavior with intent to damage property.
The GCSO said it would release details on the incident, but had not done so as of press time.