Man Dies After Igniting Fire When Deputies Attempted To Serve Eviction Notice

Body camera footage shows the moment a man doused his home in gasoline and then ignited the fire that killed him.

Tuesday, April 2nd 2024, 10:20 pm

By: News 9, Sylvia Corkill


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Body camera footage shows the moment a man doused his home in gasoline and then ignited the fire that killed him.

Deputies were serving an eviction notice near West Hefner Road and North Council Road when things took a turn.

According to the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office deputies were serving an eviction notice. They had been working with the elderly couple for weeks to find them a new place to live.

On Monday, an Uber was waiting in the driveway to take the couple to their new residence when a fire inside their home erupted.

Deputy: l'll help you.

Deputies entered the home and began helping an elderly woman to her feet. 

"Our deputies were tending to an elderly female, handicapped, who suffers from Parkinson's," said Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson. 

The woman's 82-year-old husband Anthony Goulding caught the attention of deputies.

Deputy: Hey! What are you doing?!

Goulding was armed with a gas can and lighter.

Goulding: It's gas! you ready?! 
Deputy: No. 
Deputy: Stop! Hey! Hey! No!

The deputy pushed Goulding to the ground in an attempt to keep him from igniting the fire but it was too late. 

Deputy: Oh my God. Dispatch send fire to our area.

On fire, Goulding hurls the gas can at one of the deputies.

Deputy: Ah! 
Elderly woman: What the hell? 
Deputy: Send fire to our address

The hall erupted into flames as the deputy's feet were momentarily engulfed in flames. The deputy ran to the next room and radioed for more help. 

With the fire growing the two deputies worked to get the woman to safety.

Deputy: Come on, we've got to go. We got to get you out
Deputy: Ma'am come on! Grab her legs! Grab her legs!

One of the deputies attempted to go back into the home to rescue Goulding but was beaten back by fire and smoke.

Neighbors looked on in shock.

"The first thing I thought was about his soul. So we just prayed for him," said neighbor Cassandra Peters. 

"We were just talking with a couple of people down the street-- of how we just need to be checking in on our neighbors more, and that people know they are not alone," said neighbor Karli Vobornik.

While the deputies were not injured, they were understandably traumatized and went home to gather their bearings.

The woman rescued was taken to a long-term stay facility.

Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson said his department knows all too well how dangerous serving eviction notices can be.

"Eviction, you're taking someone's home away that's their last stand. You talk about a whirlwind of emotion," said  Johnson. 

In 2022, three deputies were ambushed while serving an eviction notice. Deputy Bobby Swartz lost his life in the attack. Deputies Mark Johns and Melody Norton were also shot by the disgruntled tenant.

Johnson says the most recent incident just emphasizes how dangerous serving eviction notices can be.

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