Ore. man accused of trying to blow up family home



HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) -- A Washington County sheriff's spokesman says a 36-year-old Oregon man accused of cutting his home's natural gas line in an attempt to harm his wife and four children has been arrested.

Sgt. Bob Ray said James Speidel of the small community of Bethany, west of Portland, was booked into jail Tuesday night for investigation of five counts of attempted aggravated murder, five counts of attempted assault and attempted arson. He was held on $1 million bail.

The spokesman says the man's 38-year-old wife smelled a strong odor of natural gas early Tuesday morning and fled the house with her children, ages 3 to 9. Northwest Natural Gas found that an external gas line was severed and a large amount of natural gas was leaking under the house. The utility advised her to call the sheriff's office.

Sheriff's officers say the gas line appeared to be intentionally cut.

Ray says deputies began searching for Speidel and found him Tuesday afternoon. After hospital treatment for an unrelated condition, the man was arrested.