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Suspect faces eight charges following Westfield arsons and standoff

WESTFIELD – Police managed to talk a Westfield man out of a home’s basement Monday evening, ending an approximately 1½-hour standoff that began after he was accused of setting his aunt, the home and two vehicles on fire.

Thomas M. Pereira, 33, was charged with seven felony crimes and one misdemeanor, after Westfield police and the Chautauqua County sheriff’s SWAT Team managed to end the stalemate at the Bank Street home without further incident, police said. During the standoff, they talked to him through the doorway while he was in the basement.

Authorities accused Pereira of pouring gasoline on his aunt’s feet before setting her on fire.

“According to the victim, she was able to use the spray nozzle in the kitchen to put it out,” Westfield Police Chief Rob Genthner said.

Pereira also was accused of starting the house and two vehicles outside on fire.

Police charged him with third-degree assault, three counts of arson and two counts each of reckless endangerment and burglary, they reported.