A Florida man was arrested on Wednesday morning after sheriff's deputies say he ignored firefighters' commands and tried to save his dogs from his burning home. Brevard County Fire Rescue crews responded to his home in Cocoa at around 5am after someone called 911 to report the fire.
Fire investigators say they found the home was full of smoke from a fire that appeared to start in a television and spread.
They say Wendell Joyner, 58, kept going inside his burning home to save his three dogs.
"I got out of the house, and then I realised, 'Oh, wait a minute, my dogs are in there', " Joyner said. "So, I went back inside to look for my dogs."
Joyner says he kept getting overcome with smoke, and he had to keep coming outside to breathe.He said he saw an opportunity when he grabbed a firefighter's axe and threw it through a front window to get access to his dogs.
Deputies tackled Joyner.
Joyner says he was taken to a hospital for a CAT scan, and he was then taken to the Brevard County Jail, where he was booked on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
"My defence is I was trying to save my dogs," Joyner said.
Joyner's face was bloodied by the tackle, and he asked why deputies used so much force against him while his home was burning.
Brevard County sheriff's spokesman David Jacobs said his deputies suspected Joyner was intoxicated when they arrived, and they feared what he may have done with the axe if he was impaired.
He says the deputies charged Joyner with two misdemeanors, when they could have charged him with a felony for picking up the firefighter's axe.
"I think at the most, they should've taken me aside, and if they felt that I needed it to be in a squad car until things settled," he added.
With news video.