...By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
Landlord Allegedly Sets Fire to Own Home with Tenant Inside
A Minnesota landlord, Travis Carlson, stands accused of intentionally setting his apartment ablaze while his tenant was inside.
The incident occurred in Duluth on May 18, and Carlson now faces charges of first-degree arson.
The alleged arsonist is said to have used gasoline from his car to accelerate the fire, all while playing Billy Joel’s song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” from his apartment.
The Fire and Carlson’s Actions:
Authorities responded to the scene on Fourth Street after receiving a distress call around 4 am.
As they arrived, they witnessed the upstairs apartment engulfed in flames, accompanied by the sound of the aforementioned song emanating from the premises.
According to court documents, Carlson is accused of knocking on his downstairs tenant’s door, alerting them to the raging fire and confirming the gravity of the situation.
Arrest and Investigation Findings:
The day following the incident, Carlson was apprehended and found to have suffered “fresh burn injuries” on his arms and legs.
Currently in custody at St. Louis County jail, he faces a bail amount of $75,000.
The downstairs tenant reported being awakened around 3 am by the sound of Carlson breaking glass and causing destruction upstairs for approximately 20 minutes.
Subsequently, Carlson knocked on their door, delivering the shocking news that the house was on fire.
Eyewitness Accounts and Evidence:
A neighbor, who promptly dialed 911, witnessed Carlson wearing a helmet and intentionally smashing his own windows.
The neighbor observed Carlson going back and forth from his truck with gas cans, eventually witnessing a fireball erupt from the upstairs apartment.
The subsequent investigation uncovered a drilled hole in Carlson’s gas tank, with a drill lying nearby, along with gas can lids on the ground near his truck.
Additionally, the statement of probable cause revealed green liquid stains from burned accelerant on furniture, flooring, and walls in various areas of the upstairs apartment.
Further evidence indicated that several wires had been pulled out from the basement electrical panel.
Impacted Tenant and Potential Consequences:
Fortunately, the downstairs tenant escaped unharmed but has been displaced from their home due to the fire damage.
If found guilty of the felony charge, Carlson could face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Carlson had owned the property since 2005, residing in the upstairs portion of the building while renting out the downstairs space.
The alleged actions of Travis Carlson, setting fire to his own property with a tenant inside, are deeply disturbing.
Such incidents not only put lives at risk but also cause significant emotional and physical harm to those involved.
The ongoing investigation will shed more light on the motives behind this act of arson.
It is imperative that justice is served for the displaced tenant and that appropriate legal consequences are imposed if Carlson is found guilty.
Incidents like these serve as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining safety and security within our communities and upholding the sanctity of one’s home.