Stockton, CA – A Stockton family of five was shocked to learn that their neighbor poured two gallons of diesel fuel on their front door in the middle of the night in an attempt to burn their house to the ground (video below).
“They said had it had been gasoline, he would’ve blown up as well as we all wouldn’t be here today. We all would’ve been dead,” the homeowner told KOVR.
The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. on March 7, as the family was asleep inside the Dominion Drive home.
Ring doorbell footage showed their neighbor, 38-year-old Cuong Pham, as he doused the front porch with two gallons of diesel fuel from a yellow fuel container, KTXL reported.
He then knelt down, and repeatedly attempted to ignite the liquid with a lighter, the video showed.
But the flame from the lighter wasn’t hot enough to ignite the diesel fuel, which burns at a much higher temperature than gasoline.
Defeated, Pham eventually abandoned his effort and wandered away.
The homeowner, who only wanted to be identified as Sandi, said that she was awakened by the Ring alert on her phone, KOVR reported.
She said she initially ignored the alert, because generally the system is triggered by insects flying by the camera, according to KTXL.
But when she watched the footage about two hours later, she immediately recognized the attempted arsonist as her neighbor from across the street, KOVR reported.
“The splashing is what I keep hearing over and over,” Sandi said. “You can hear him struggling to breathe as he’s trying to light it and pour more.”
“What was he thinking? What was he trying to do? Obviously, he was trying to kill us all,” she continued. “I went into a panic. I ran down the stairs, I woke everybody up, I called the cops.”
The three adults and two children, ages three and 10, were uninjured during the incident.
“I wasn’t scared, I was mad,” a man living at the residence told KTXL. “I wanted to go beat the guy up.”
Pham was subsequently arrested for five counts of attempted murder, attempted arson, and two counts of child endangerment.
Pham, who struggles with addiction and mental health issues, allegedly told police that he saw a ghost at the family’s home, and that he was attempting to get rid of it, Sandi said.
He said he does not have a problem with the family, and that he would like to apologize to them.
She said he’d shown up on their doorbell camera in the past – just days before the attempted arson – and that he paced around and rang the doorbell repeatedly on that occasion.
Another neighbor said that Pham has also harassed other people in the neighborhood.
“He does this around the neighborhood, rings our doorbells, or asks us to borrow money,” he told KOVR. “It could’ve been our house that he could’ve nailed and it’s kind of scary thought.”
The homeowners scrubbed the porch and front door multiple times to clean up the diesel fuel, but the odor still lingered for hours afterwards, KTXL reported.
"You do nothing, you're still innocent," Sandi said. "You still get your house almost lit on fire."
The family has found some solace in the knowledge that Pham is currently behind bars.
“This is our home, this is where we live, we are just going to have to make the best of it and put it in God’s hands and hope for the best,” she told KOVR.
You can watch surveillance footage of Pham’s attempts to light the family’s home on fire in the video below: