Local News

Nash County Man Who Burned Home Released After Mental Evaluation

Posted April 29, 2004 5:43 a.m. EDT

— A Nash County man, who allegedly decided to burn his home down instead of letting his estranged wife get it in divorce proceedings, has been released from the county mental health facility.

Crews responded Thursday to a report of a mobile home on fire in Nash County. When they arrived, they saw Ronald Patterson outside sitting in his pickup truck. Patterson identified himself as the owner of the mobile home and told rescue crews to let the fire burn.

Patterson, who reportedly had a gun in his pickup truck, told authorities that his wife left him and he did not want her to have everything for which he worked hard.

Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Joyner said it angered him to learn how the fire started.

"It's a bad situation, and it would have bothered us a whole lot if any of our firefighters had gotten hurt or injured on this scene due to someone's negligence," he said.

Sheriff deputies said Patterson stayed in his vehicle for nearly four hours. He later surrendered to authorities peacefully.

Authorities said since Patterson did not point the gun at anyone or threaten to hurt anyone, along with the fact that he owned the home, he has not been charged with any crime. However, officials may charge him for endangering the lives of the firefighters.

The mobile home was located next door to the volunteer fire department.