MOUNT CARMEL — A borough man who illegally owned three alligators refused to allow emergency responders inside his home while it was smoking on Dec. 5, according to Mount Carmel Police Department.

Juan Puesan, 41, of 21 West Ave., was charged by borough Patrolman Evan Freiler with three misdemeanors: Resisting arrest, obstructing the administration of law and disorderly conduct. Mount Carmel Code Enforcement Officer Bryan Polifka is handling the investigation into any potential code violations.

"He had three alligators, multiple dogs, multiple pigeons freely flying, and other animals," said borough Chief Christopher Buhay. "He didn't want us to see what was in there."

A borough ordinance prohibits residents from owning large reptiles within the borders of Mount Carmel. The largest alligator inside the home was at least four feet long, said Buhay.

Freiler responded at 1:50 p.m. Dec. 5 to the home and observed thick black smoke coming from the building. When Puesan first answered the door, he told police he needed to do something first; he then closed and locked the door, police said. 

While Freiler continued knocking, other emergency personnel evacuated the neighboring houses and detected carbon monoxide coming from the home. Puesan kept looking out through the glass panel of the door, police said. 

When he finally opened the door a second time, Puesan refused orders to evacuate and began to block everyone from entering the home with his body. He was warned he would be arrested if he continued obstructing emergency personnel, police said.

Freiler and township Police Chief Brian Hollenbush placed him in handcuffs. When Puesan became belligerent and started to fight with the officers, Freiler said he used "reasonable and necessary force" to complete the arrest, police said. 

The charges were filed in the Milton office of District Judge Michael Diehl, but were transferred to the Mount Carmel office of District Judge William Cole.

Puesan was arraigned on Saturday and was released when he posted $10,000 straight cash bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 9:15 a.m. Dec. 18 in front of Cole.

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