Kwethluk Man Admits To Setting House On Fire With A Family Inside

May 15, 2017

A Kwethluk man who admitted to setting a house on fire with a family inside is facing charges of attempted murder and arson. The city says that no injuries were reported.

Early Friday morning a family of four - a mother, a father, and two young children - awoke to find a fire consuming the only doorway to their home. A neighbor had heard the fire igniting - the loud whoomph of a match hitting gasoline. According to troopers, the neighbor smashed a window in the home to allow the family to escape outside to safety.

Kwethluk City Manager Boris Epchook said that volunteers ran to help put out the flames, spraying it with water and extinguishers. The house, he said, is a total loss.

Troopers responded and arrested Eric Nicolai, 24, who told Troopers that he’d lit a pile of dried grass doused with gasoline in the doorway of the home.

Nicolai said that he knew that the family of four was inside, and that the fire was an act of revenge targeting the father who, Nicolai told Troopers, had been talking badly about him.

City Manager Epchook said that the displaced family is staying with their next of kin in the village.