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Landlord Blasted ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ While Allegedly Torching His Building, Say Police

A Minnesota landlord is accused of setting his apartment ablaze while playing the Billy Joel classic.

Travis Lee CarlsonSt. Louis County Jail

A landlord in Minnesota who was arrested and charged with allegedly setting fire to his own Duluth house, was blaring Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" when authorities responded to the blaze, police said.

When first responders arrived at the duplex May 18, they heard the 1989 hit booming from Travis Lee Carlson's upstairs apartment, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Carlson, 37, was charged with first-degree arson on Tuesday.

The downstairs tenant called 911 to report being awakened around 3:30 a.m. by Carlson "smashing glass and breaking things," the newspaper said, citing the criminal complaint.

After about 20 minutes, the tenant said Carlson pounded on his door to say the "house was on fire."

A neighbor also told police that he had seen Carlson wearing a helmet and busting windows.

He also saw Carlson under his truck with gas cans, then running back and forth from the building before he saw "a flash like a fireball come from the upstairs apartment," the complaint said.

Investigators said they found a hole in Carlson's truck's gas tank, and a drill and gas can lids nearby, as well as traces from a "burned accelerant" and some wires pulled from an electrical panel, the complaint said.

The next day, Carlson was found with burn marks on his arms and legs. No other injuries were reported from the fire. The fire and damage appeared to be confined to Carlson's apartment.

Prosecutor Vicky Wanta said in court Tuesday that there may be "some mental health or drug-related concerns regarding the defendant's behavior."

It was unclear whether Carlson had representation.

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