A man accused of threatening to burn down his house on Meade Hill Road in Glenoma and shoot any responding law enforcement personnel on Sept. 18 is now facing felony charges in Lewis County Superior Court.
The man, identified as Lance Pugh, 52, of Glenoma did not successfully start a fire and did not discharge a firearm during the incident.
Multiple people called the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 18 to report Pugh’s “behavior,” which one complainant explained was “a plan to commit suicide, which included burning his house down” and “statements about shooting any responding law enforcement,” according to court documents.
“Because of that threat, law enforcement did not immediately respond,” a deputy stated in a report referenced in court documents.
The deputy elaborated, “because of the threat, law enforcement would not respond unless he started endangering other people.”
Deputies did eventually respond after they received a report from an occupant of a neighboring residence, who stated Pugh “was outside the house banging on the window with a blowtorch in hand,” according to court documents. “She was advised to get everyone in the house to a safe location, and law enforcement would respond.”
When deputies arrived at the residence, Pugh was reportedly “on his front porch with a blowtorch in hand,” according to court documents. A deputy reportedly “observed the front door to Pugh’s residence was open and watched as he entered the residence and retrieved a shotgun.”
The deputy reportedly ordered Pugh to drop the gun and took cover behind a nearby vehicle.
Pugh allegedly “did not follow commands, sitting down on the porch with the shotgun next to him, and appeared to be angry about something,” according to court documents.
Other law enforcement personnel arrived to assist and Pugh was ultimately put in handcuffs, according to court documents.
Law enforcement personnel at the property on Sept. 18 noted “a strong smell of gasoline around the neighbor’s residence as well as Pugh’s residence,” and a deputy who locked the door to the house at Pugh’s request noted “an overwhelming smell of gasoline coming from inside.” Deputies also noted there were “several” gasoline cans outside the residence.
Deputies at the scene reportedly confirmed the shotgun had a slug in the chamber and had three slugs in the magazine tube.
Given that Pugh has a felony conviction on his record, he is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Pugh was booked into the Lewis County Jail at 2:35 a.m. on Sept. 19 and has since been charged with one count each of first-degree attempted arson, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a short-barrelled shotgun.
His preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court was delayed twice, first because Pugh refused to appear for the hearing on Sept. 19 and again when he declined to confirm his identity to a judge on Sept. 20.
Pugh was wanted on a no-bail bench warrant for a child molestation case at the time of the incident.
In that case, Pugh is accused of molesting and taking nude pictures of an 11-year-old girl. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He was initially released on unsecured bail when the case was filed in November 2022, with trial scheduled for April 2023. The court ordered a competency evaluation in March and the bench warrant was issued when Pugh failed to appear for a review hearing on Sept. 14.
A review hearing on that case is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 21, at which time the court will make a third attempt to hold the preliminary hearing for the attempted arson case.