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Man allegedly arms himself with hatchets, barricades himself in Lethbridge home

lethbridge police, LPS

Lethbridge police have arrested a man who allegedly armed himself with hatchets and barricaded himself inside a northside home on Tuesday, later allegedly setting the home on fire.

Officers responded to the house, in the 600 block of Stafford Drive North, just before 2 p.m. for a report that a female inside had been threatened.

She was able to get out safely before officers arrived, according to police.

When police confronted the man, he allegedly approached them with hatchets in his hands.

"He refused to drop the weapons and would not leave the residence," police said in a news release.

Officers surrounded the home and made multiple attempts to speak with the suspect, who allegedly began damaging property and throwing objects out of a window.

Police then noticed smoke and flames inside the home and called firefighters to stop the fire from spreading to neighbouring houses.

As firefighters were working to put out the fire, the man left the house but was stopped by a police service dog. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say the home, which hassignificant damage as a result of the fire, was not where the suspect lived, but somewhere he had been allowed to stay temporarily.

The home was so badly damaged it's currently uninhabitable, according to police.

No bystanders were injured during the incident and there was no damage to neighbouring properties, which were evacuated.

Joe Zwart, 38, of Cowley, Alta., is charged with arson, possession of a dangerous weaponand two counts each of mischief, assaulting a peace officer and failing to comply with a release order.