Couple escapes after machete-wielding neighbor breaks into home, starts fire, police say

Deputies in North Carolina said they have arrested a man accused of breaking into his neighbors' house while armed with a machete and starting a fire early Sunday in Catawba County.

The incident happened around 6:30 a.m. at a home on Rock Barn Road in Claremont.

The homeowners said they barricaded themselves into a bedroom and called police after their neighbor, 38-year-old Eric Deal, broke into their home through a rear window with a machete. 

Deputies said while inside, Deal started a fire in the kitchen, causing thousands of dollars in damage. The homeowners managed to escape the burning home through a window.

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According to officials, they could see smoke coming from one of the windows when they arrived at the scene.

WSOC-TV learned that a magistrate in Catawba County issued an involuntary commitment order against the suspect Saturday.

Deal has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.

No additional information has been released.

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