Suicidal man prompts evacuation of Westmoreland County neighborhood

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WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. - A man who police said was attempting to commit suicide prompted an evacuation of an entire Westmoreland County neighborhood Tuesday night.

Investigators said the incident happened at a home on West Vine Street in Mount Pleasant. According to police, the man's sister called 911 around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and said he may be trying to harm himself.

When emergency crews arrived, they discovered that the man severed a gas line and filled the home with fumes. Upon discovering the gas leak, emergency responders evacuated nearby homes as a precaution.

"We received a call through 911. A female called in to say her brother severed a gas line in an attempt to commit suicide," said an undercover officer. "We arrived on scene and were able to make contact, set up a perimeter and due to the nature of the gas leaking, we evacuated about one square block."

Hours later, the man was taken into custody and is expected undergo a mental evaluation. Investigators said the man told detectives he was having personal and financial problems.

Neighbors told Channel 11’s Brittny McGraw that the man has had run-ins with police, as well as people on the street, in the past.

“My wife and I went with the other neighbors to one of the fire departments until about 3:30 this morning,” Gene Hostoffer, who was one of the people evacuated from his home, said. “He’s definitely a threat. Why do I have to carry a gun to get my newspaper? Why do I carry a gun to cut my grass? I’m retired and 70 years old, I don’t want to put up with that.”

Police said it’s likely that man will face charges.