ROCKLAND – The quick action of a neighbor is credited with saving a family of three Tuesday morning after their trailer was set on fire while they slept.

Michael Burns tackled the suspect – Timothy Barbeau, 42, of Rockland – outside the home on Third Street in the Sunset Terrace Mobile Home Park.

Barbeau was arrested on suspicion of aggravated attempted murder and arson, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said. The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the investigation.

Barbeau was taken to the Knox County Jail in Rockland. Bail was set at $150,000 cash. He is expected to make his initial appearance in Knox County Unified Court Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Aggravated attempted murder carries a possible penalty of life in prison.

Burns said he had stepped outside his mobile home on Third Street shortly after 5:30 a.m. to smoke a cigarette when he saw someone staggering by both his and the neighboring trailer. Burns said it was so dark he did not notice the man carrying anything at first, but then heard a splashing sound and smelled gasoline. He said Barbeau then lit the fire.

Burns said he ran over and tackled Barbeau and wrestled with him while at the same time using the suspect’s sweatshirt to try to put out the flames.

Burns held Barbeau until Rockland police arrived.

Walter Caven, whose home was set on fire, said he knows Barbeau from seeing him in the mobile home park, but has never had any prior problems with him. He said he has no idea why Barbeau would target his home. Barbeau also lives in Sunset Terrace.

Caven said he, his wife, and their young granddaughter were asleep, but that he woke up when he heard the ruckus outside when Barbeau was tackled.

Caven said if his neighbor had not stopped Barbeau, he and his family could have died. Burns said he is happy he was able to stop Barbeau, because he has watched videos on how a mobile home can be engulfed in flames in three minutes.

There was minor damage to the exterior of the home, Rockland Fire Chief Christopher Whytock said.