Retiree mistakes firefighters for burglars

An elderly man who mistook firefighters for burglars as they arrived to douse a small blaze at his apartment complex threatened to shoot them with a gas-powered pistol, police said on Wednesday.

Authorities confiscated the pistol and two other loaded gas weapons after Tuesday’s incident in St Poelten, about 80km west of Vienna. The weapons are powered with gas cartridges that shoot projectiles, unlike conventional guns that use bullets or shells.

The confrontation began after firefighters knocked on doors of the housing complex after rushing there to extinguish the fire.

When they alerted the 79-year-old unidentified retiree, he shouted, “Go away or I’ll shoot!,” the Austria Press Agency reported, citing official accounts.

Police seized all three weapons and the permits the man had to keep them, the agency said. It is unclear whether the man will face charges.—Sapa-AP

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