Person of interest in house fire faces several charges - WSMV News 4

Person of interest in house fire faces several charges

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Stephen Comiskey lived in the home for five years. (WSMV) Stephen Comiskey lived in the home for five years. (WSMV)
Stephen Comiskey (Source: Robertson County Jail) Stephen Comiskey (Source: Robertson County Jail)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A man accused of setting his van on fire and assaulting a Springfield police officer is also person of interest in a suspicious house fire that happened hours before in Hermitage.

High and heavy flames swallowed a home on Hallford Court in Hermitage Thursday evening.

"There was smoke going over the trees, through the trees onto our street. There was flames coming over the top of the trees," said neighbor Justin Brandon.

A property manager told News 4 Stephen Comiskey lived in the house for five years. How it ended up in flames seems suspicious to Nashville firefighters.

"It was a really big fire too. The whole house was engulfed in flames," Brandon said.

Comiskey got in trouble with the law more than once this year. In August, he was charged with endangering his daughter after he made her jump with him off the Silliman Evans Bridge into the Cumberland River. Neighbors said they've seen odd behavior.

"He did odd things. He spray painted his van. In the road there you can still see some of where he put ‘Help 911’ on the road," Brandon said. "So he definitely was acting very odd this summer leading up to this. I don't think anyone's shocked that this happened."

Then on Thursday, his home caught on fire, and Comiskey was arrested hours later in Springfield for setting his van on fire. Police said he thought there was "evil in the van."

Comiskey is also accused of assaulting a Springfield police officer. Video from our news partners Smokey Barn News showed him being arrested. His wife Donie Jo Comiskey was with him at the time, and Springfield police charged her with burglary and evading arrest. Neighbors said his behavior escalated.

"It's been a concern, and obviously the neighborhood as a whole we have thought of the outcome that could happen, the possibilities. But no one really felt threatened by him as far as personally," Brandon said. "Him doing the things he did, we all saw it coming."

News 4 found Metro police officers were called to Comiskey's house 10 times since July, responding to a disorderly or mentally ill person, helping a resident, and most recently a fire on Thursday.

Comiskey is in the Robertson County jail facing charges of evading arrest, resisting arrest, vandalism, burglary and aggravated assault of an officer. His bond is set at $95,000. Comiskey's wife is in jail on a $38,500 bond.

The Hallford Court house remains under investigation by the Nashville Fire Department.

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