A man is facing charges for allegedly pouring gasoline around a rooming home in Brockton, Massachusetts, and setting it on fire early Tuesday morning after he punched his girlfriend in the face.
Thirty-five-year-old Matthew Eldridge is expected to be arraigned on arson, domestic assault and battery, and breaking and entering charges in Brockton District Court.
Fire officials said crews arrived at the home on Highland Street just before 2:30 a.m. They found scorch marks and smelled gasoline. There was no fire showing on arrival, but further investigation showed there were hot spots under the exterior walls of the home.
Kathryn Perry-Dougan, one of the owners of the home, told NBC10 Boston she woke up to Eldridge fighting with his girlfriend, and that she saw him punch her in the face.
She said Eldridge threatened them before leaving.
"On his way out, he said, 'I'm going to get you,'" Perry-Dougan said. "Within the hour, he came back and poured gasoline on everything and started a fire. I'm on oxygen, he could have blown us to kingdom come."
Perry-Dougan said she then called 911, which is when she said Eldridge ran away, sparking the police search.
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"That boy needs to be locked up for the rest of his life," Warren Dougan, another owner, said. "He could have killed everybody in this house. That's 11 people."
The American Red Cross is assisting those 11 residents with a temporary place to stay.
Officials said two women who were having trouble breathing were taken to an area hospital for treatment.
The fire caused $40,000 in damages.
It's unclear if Eldridge has an attorney.