By Kameel Stanley
PINELLAS PARK – The fire was all around Dan Jensen. He could see it. He could smell it. He could hear it.
It was close enough to touch. It was burning down his neighbor’s house. It was creeping toward Jensen’s own fence 10 feet away, and he started spraying the fire with his hose.
Police ordered Jensen to get back, and he complied. But after a few minutes passed without firefighters arriving, a frustrated Jensen stepped forward and leaned down to grab the skinny gray garden hose once again.
That’s when he heard the order. “Hit ‘em! Take him down! Tase him!” Within moments, Jensen was on the ground. He felt electric.
“It was all over me,” Jensen said. “Crawling all over me.”
The 42-year-old commercial fisherman is still struggling to comprehend exactly how things deteriorated so quickly Thursday. He said he doesn’t understand why police shot him with a Taser that night as he tried to battle a house fire at 3420 Beechwood Ter. N.
Jensen’s family, friends and neighbors have been quick to defend him and accuse police of crossing a line.
“It was wrong,” he said. “There’s no way around it. … I was fighting a fire. I wasn’t fighting police. I thought they were here to help me. Instead, they hurt me.”