A marital dispute shook a sleeping Oak Park neighborhood awake when a suicidal husband doused himself with gasoline and set his house afire before falling from a second-story window early Thursday, authorities said.
Critically injured from smoke inhalation was Richard Rose, 37, a tile and stone salesman who, sheriff’s deputies said, had threatened his wife and two neighbors on Pesto Way after they tried to pacify him just before midnight.
“They probably saved his life, and hers, too,” said Sheriff’s Detective Matt Findlay of the neighbors who had come to the aid of Rose’s wife, Robin.
Rose, who Findlay said was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, was under deputies’ guard at Westlake Community Medical Center. Spokeswoman Kris Carraway said he was in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Findlay said Rose, while quarreling with his wife in the garage, waved a claw hammer at her and at Hamid Babaeian, 31, a neighbor with whom Rose had been drinking earlier.
He said Rose then took a one-gallon gasoline can into the house and doused the furniture and other contents before lighting them. Findlay said Rose then tossed gas onto Fred Greenstein, 36, another neighbor who had joined Babaeian in trying to smother flames by the front door.
He said Greenstein, whom Rose also threatened with a seven-inch kitchen knife, escaped without injury after he tried unsuccessfully to talk Rose into leaving the house.
The blaze, which county firefighters declared extinguished about 12:43 a.m., caused about $30,000 in damage to the stucco house, mostly on the second floor, county fire dispatcher Annie Ironside said.