Man Behind Bars After Setting Fire in Front Room of Home

, Posted: Tue, December 4 2012 at 4:50 PM, Updated: Tue, December 4 2012 at 5:24 PM

Fire crews responded to this Shady Cove home around one o'clock early Tuesday morning.      

Authorities said 41-year-old Michael Heath Johnson set a fire in his front room.

"We know him as Heath," began neighbor Norman Barrett.

"[He] seems like a gentle, kind, caring person," he said.

Jackson County Sheriff's Office officials said Johnson called a family member, saying he was going to set the home on fire and wanted to stab himself.

When fire crews arrived they put out the flames, but Johnson was nowhere to be found. Police said he then called the same relative, said he was at the Shady Cove Market, but when police arrived, he wasn't there. Authorities finally caught up with him near his home a short time later.

Neighbors say they're just glad the fire didn't spread.

"We are a firewise community here. We have tried our best to fireproof," said Barrett.

We're told Johnson has two teenaged children who were not in the house at the time.

The 41-year-old is in the Jackson County Jail, charged with attempted animal abuse, for leaving his dog inside the home, as well as disorderly conduct.

Jackson County Sheriffs Officials said pending charges include arson, criminal mischief and reckless burning. However, they're dependent on whether family or the District Attorney wants to press further charges.

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