Photo of John Wesley Mosley Jr., arrested in an arson in Essex.Police have charged John Wesley Mosley Jr., 65, of the 700 block of Essex Avenue, with burning his neighbor's house yesterday.

Mosley is charged with attempted first degree murder, first-degree arson and first-degree assault. He is held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

BCoFD and BCoPD responded yesterday at 9:02 a.m. to a fire at the home of Mosley's next-door neighbor. The neighbor, who was rescued by a police officer and another neighbor, was injured in the one-alarm fire and transported to a local hospital but is expected to survive.

The investigation, which is ongoing, shows that Mosley became involved in an argument with the victim yesterday morning, just before the fire. The victim told investigators she was calling police when she heard a loud noise and saw fire and shattering windows. The victim and other witnesses told police that Mosley's behavior has been strange lately; for example, neighbors said they have seen him yelling outside his house.

Because of the victim's description of the fire, police investigated the possibility that an incendiary device was involved. A search warrant executed yesterday at Mosley's home found no hazardous materials on the property. Based on a positive reaction from an accelerant-sniffing dog, investigators believe that an accelerant was used to start the fire.

Police have sent Mosley for emergency evaluations twice in the past, in 1995 and 1996.

The investigation of yesterday's fire shows that Mosley and the victim have been neighbors for many years, with no history of trouble. Police responded to Essex Avenue twice in the last month to investigate a suspicious condition. In both cases, the reports to police involved complaints from neighbors about Mosley's behavior, and in both cases Mosley refused to talk to police.

BCoPD's Mobile Crisis Unit -- which responds when someone appears to be in crisis or suffering from a mental illness -- responded to Mosley's home on February 2. Mobile Crisis officers provided advice to Mosley's neighbors (the victim and her friend, who was not at home at the time of Tuesday's fire) and attempted to speak with Mosley.