Police: Arson suspect said he was ‘trying to protect his family’

One person is custody in connection to a house fire in the 2600 block of East Second Street of Dayton on Monday morning. Two people jumped out of the window of the burning home. Dayton Fire Department Chief Jeff Lykins said that the fire is believed to be arson. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

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One person is custody in connection to a house fire in the 2600 block of East Second Street of Dayton on Monday morning. Two people jumped out of the window of the burning home. Dayton Fire Department Chief Jeff Lykins said that the fire is believed to be arson. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

A man arrested in an arson investigation in Dayton told police he set the fire and “was trying to protect his family,” according to an incident report.

Dennis Lee Treece, 42, was arrested at the scene of a two-story house fire on East Second Street, where two people jumped from a window to escape. Both were taken to an area hospital, but additional information on their conditions have not been released.

ExploreRELATED: 2 taken to hospital after jumping from burning Dayton home; 1 in custody
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Dennis Lee Treece

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Dennis Lee Treece

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

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Dennis Lee Treece

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Treece is facing three counts of aggravated arson according to Dayton Municipal Court records.

He told police that he used a cigarette lighter to ignite a cardboard box in the basement of the home where he lived in the 2600 block of East Second Street, according to the report and an affidavit filed in Dayton Municipal Court. Treece said he knew that two other people were home at the time.

An artificial Christmas tree, some wiring, a furnace and other fuel sources also were in the basement.

ExplorePHOTOS: Arson suspected in Dayton house fire early Monday morning

“When asked why he set the items on fire, Dennis stated he was trying to protect his family,” the reported read. “When asked from [what], he stated he kept hearing voices and was trying to keep them from his family members.”

As of early Tuesday afternoon, Treece was being held in the Montgomery County Jail. He is scheduled to appear today in Dayton Municipal Court.

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