LAKE TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — Investigators in Stark County say two young girls escaped from their burning home early Saturday morning after their father used fireworks to set fire to the home during a tense standoff with police.
Uniontown Police were called to a triplex in Lake Township at 1:29 a.m., after a man identified as 45-year-old Jason Tyo became involved in a heated domestic dispute with his girlfriend.
The girlfriend and her three children fled the home, but police were concerned that Tyo was inside with his 7 and 8-year-old daughters. Police were able to speak to Tyo and were alarmed by what he said.
Uniontown Police Lt. Nathan Weidman told FOX 8, “threats to the officers, threats to himself, threats to the property with explosives, so my goal at that point was to get the two children out.”
Police discovered that Jason Tyo had a large collection of fireworks inside the home, and police were horrified when he began shooting off the fireworks both inside the home and outside, where police were positioned. The home quickly became engulfed in flames.
“Seeing that, seeing the smoke come out, it kind of turned from trying to make an arrest to trying to rescue everybody inside,” said Lt. Weidman.
As police were preparing to enter the burning home, Tyo’s 7-year-old daughter crawled through the smoke and threw herself out the front door into the waiting arms of officers. Her 8-year-old sister dropped out of a bedroom window onto a deck at the rear of the home, and then safely jumped down to ground level.
“I’m still in awe of the strength of those two young little girls to get out of there,’ said Lt. Weidman.
Unfortunately, their father refused to leave the burning home and continued to pose a threat to police. After the fire was extinguished, Tyo was found dead inside one of the children’s bedrooms.
“Our goal was to effect an arrest, but it definitely wasn’t for him to get injured or killed,” said Lt. Weidman.
It turns out that residents in the surrounding neighborhood had been terrorized in recent months by someone who had been shooting off fireworks in the middle of the night, and police received up to 30 complaints.
Last week, investigators identified Tyo as the person who was responsible. Tyo was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Stark County Jail on charges of inducing panic, fireworks violations, and having weapons under disability.
He was released from jail on a $25,000 bond Friday, and then hours later set into motion the events that led to the fire and his death.
“I can’t speak for him, you know we sit there and look at it as I would hope that every father would never want to see this stuff happen to their kids, so what was going through his head, I’m not exactly sure,” said Lt. Weidman.
We are told that his two daughters are physically okay, and are now in the care of relatives.