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A Minnesota landlord who was blaring Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” at the scene of a blazing residential building has been accused of arson.
Travis Carlson, 37, was charged Tuesday with the ironic crime at a residence he owned in Duluth.
First responders arrived to the fire in the north Minnesota city around 4 a.m. on May 18, according to charging documents. When they reached the scene, they heard the 1989 Billy Joel hit blasting from speakers in an upstairs apartment.
A downstairs tenant told investigators that Carlson knocked on his door around 3:30 a.m. and said simply, “The house is on fire,” according to a probable cause statement from police.
The tenant had awoken earlier in the night to the sound of Carlson smashing and breaking things in the upstairs unit. A neighbor eventually called 911.
When officers arrived, Carlson had already fled the scene, leaving cops to listen to his factually inaccurate choice of music.
Arson investigators found a hole in the gas tank of Carlson’s truck and fire accelerant throughout his apartment, police said. A drill and a gas can were also discovered near the truck.
Duluth police found and arrested Carlson the next day. He had burns on his legs and arms, investigators said.
Local prosecutors said in court filings there may be “some mental health or drug-related concerns regarding the defendant’s behavior.”
A spokeswoman for Billy Joel, Claire Mercuri, declined to comment.
With Tim Balk