Westfield Man Barricades Self Inside Home After Setting Car, Aunt Ablaze

WESTFIELD – A Westfield man is in custody following an arson attack and standoff with police.

The Westfield police and fire departments responded to 5 Bank St. in the village of Westfield around 5:50 p.m. Monday for a report of two motor vehicles that were on fire.

Upon arrival, it was determined the fires to the motor vehicles were allegedly intentionally started by Thomas M. Pereira, 33, of Cass Street, Westfield. Pereira barricaded himself in the basement of the residence claiming he had a gun.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department also arrived to assist, along with the County SWAT Team. Police spoke with Pereira for over an hour in an attempt to get him to come out of the residence. During this time, the taser was deployed and Pereira was taken into custody.

Further investigation revealed that Pereira was involved earlier in a domestic dispute with a female that lived at the residence. During the dispute, Pereira allegedly poured gasoline on the female victim while in the house, starting the victim and house on fire. The victim was reportedly Pereira’s aunt.

Neighbors who witnessed the dispute attempted to come to the assistance of the female victim. At this time, Pereira had a can of gasoline in-hand, started it on fire and threw the can at the neighbor who was assisting the victim and attempting to put the fire out.

The female victim was transported to Westfield Memorial Hospital for minor injuries. County Fire Investigation Team was called to the scene to assist. Pereira was charged with several felonies, including two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree arson, second-degree arson, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree assault. Pereira was arraigned in Westfield Village Court and committed to the County Jail on no bail. The Portland, Mayville and Sherman fire departments assisted at the scene. Firefighters were on scene for around two hours.