Arson Suspect Trapped Inside Burning Piggly Wiggly Is Arrested

Thursday, October 24th 2013, 7:55 am
By: Dave Davis

The Tulsa Fire Department is investigating after they say a suspected arsonist attacked a Fire Marshal.

Only News On 6 cameras were there, as firefighters and police officers worked to get the man under control.

When firefighters were called out to a fire at the abandoned Piggly Wiggly store around 4:30 Thursday morning, they didn't know what they were about to walk into.

Firefighters tell News On 6 a homeless man used a rope to lower himself into the store through a hole in the roof. Once inside, he set a fire, likely to keep warm.

A passerby noticed smoke pouring out and called firefighters.

"It was boarded, almost barricaded, it took an extra long amount of time to make entry into the structure," said firefighter Chad Meyer.

When they broke through the doors, they found Dustin Steward on the floor. They used a thermal imaging camera that detects body heat.

"That type of technology just really expedites the ability for us to find, locate and treat victims," Meyer said.

Fire marshals, who have full law enforcement authority, arrested Steward for arson.

As they were taking him to jail, marshals say Steward started fighting them.

News On 6 has exclusive video of the marshal's truck pulled over on I-244. It took several men to take Steward out of the truck and move him to a waiting police cruiser with a cage. Steward had managed to get out of his seatbelt and started kicking the assistant fire Marshal. They had to use foot shackles to stop him from kicking.

Dustin Steward was booked in the Tulsa County jail on complaints of second degree arson, second degree burglary and assaulting a police officer. His bond is set at $16,000.

The fire department tells us they're still investigating the incident.