COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP -- Police in the Poconos say Ernest Pinelli nearly blew up his home in A Pocono Country Place on the Fourth of July, coming dangerously close to killing his elderly mom and wife and endangering his entire neighborhood.
"Knowing I have family here, it's really scary to know someone tried such a stunt that can affect not only his family but everyone else in this settlement,” said Dwight Williams of Brooklyn.
Pinelli's wife called police, telling them her husband wanted to kill himself and used a propane tank to flood their home with gas.
Cops say they went inside, and found Ernest Pinelli who was holding a lighter and mumbling about "the Feds" coming for him.
Officers found and rescued Pinelli's elderly mother too and evacuated homes along the street for fear of an explosion.
"The most I’ve seen is someone stole something from a local supermarket or something like that, but I've never heard of anything crazy like that. Sounds like he may need some psych help,” said Renita Roundtree, a nurse from East Stroudsburg who works at A Pocono Country Place.
According to court papers, officers say the home was extremely hot and they found a propane stove sparking, attempting to ignite with "…the odor of propane overwhelming."
They also found a flare gun on the kitchen table and a "…large propane tank on the floor…with a torch attached to the end of it."
“We have a lot of kids that live around here and around this time they're at the pool, they're on bicycles, and to hear that somebody would do that, it could also affect other families and other kids. The whole neighborhood, oh my God, it's so shocking," said Lissa Marie Charles who lives in the development.
Officers at A Pocono Country Place say once Pinelli was arrested, they aired out the entire house, opening the windows and doors and officers were especially careful patrolling the neighborhood making sure no one set off fireworks during that period of time.
"Everywhere else, you never hear anything go wrong anywhere else, just here. I don't know,” said Jim Custer of A Pocono Country Place.
"It's a shame it happens, but what are you gonna do?” said William Schneider of Coolbaugh Township.
"Everyone gives PCP a bad reputation, but I've never had a problem in here. It's all good people.”
Pinelli is locked up in Monroe County without bail.