Residents blast man who accidentally set downtown area on fire while making a sword

Officials say an entire town went up in flames because someone was trying to imitate something he saw on television. 

Businesses have been destroyed and 18 families are now homeless after Thursday's blaze in Cohoes, N.Y. 

It all started when John Gomes, 51, inspired by Forged in Fire — a History Channel TV competition in which contestants make knives and swords out of red hot metal — built a fire in a barrel outside his apartment building to make one of his own.

He couldn’t get it hot enough, so he moved the barrel closer to the building where it caught fire and within minutes was fully engulfed, according to Fire Chief Joseph Fahd. 

“In a matter of minutes it started to come through and with the wind, it was almost like a tornado of fire,” Louis Rizzo, who owns a flower shop across the street, told Inside Edition.

A strong wind blew embers down the street and the downtown erupted in flames. 

The area is decimated in the town of 17,000 residents, with 28 buildings either destroyed or damaged. The town library was scorched, as was a church.

Citizens are expressing their displeasure with Gomes. One resident told Inside Edition he is "stupid."   

Town Mayor Shawn Morse actually expressed sympathy for the guy, who is now charged with accidentally burning down part of his town. 

“As much as everybody wants to kill the guy, I feel bad for the guy. I don't think he tried to set our city on fire but he did," the mayor said.  

RELATED: Man blames 'alien virus' for setting home on fire

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Man blames 'alien virus' for setting home on fire
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Man blames 'alien virus' for setting home on fire
A Wisconsin man accused of repeatedly vandalizing and trying to burn down a home allegedly told investigators he was struck by an alien virus.
A Wisconsin man accused of repeatedly vandalizing and trying to burn down a home allegedly told investigators he was struck by an alien virus.
A Wisconsin man accused of repeatedly vandalizing and trying to burn down a home allegedly told investigators he was struck by an alien virus.
A Wisconsin man accused of repeatedly vandalizing and trying to burn down a home allegedly told investigators he was struck by an alien virus.
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