Complaint: Duluth landlord played ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ at scene of arson

A northern Minnesota man is charged with arson after allegedly pouring gasoline at his own duplex in Duluth and setting it on fire, and apparently played Billy Joel’s hit song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” while waiting for crews to respond.

According to WDIO-TV, 37-year-old Travis Lee Carlson was charged in St. Louis County Court Tuesday with first-degree arson.

Carlson reportedly alerted residents in his building, located on the 2400 block of West Fourth Street, before leaving the scene. The fire was reported just after 4 a.m. in the upstairs unit, and the song was heard blasting from the flames when first responders arrived.

A tenant in a downstairs unit said he heard Carlson “smashing glass and breaking things” before the landlord knocked on his door and told him, “The house is on fire.” Another neighbor told dispatchers Carlson was spotted wearing a helmet and smashing his own windows around that same time, as well as under his truck with gas cans and entering the building.

A complaint says police found a hole in the gas tank of Carlson’s truck, with gas can lids and a drill nearby on the ground.

If convicted of the charge, Carlson faces more than four years in prison. Prosecutors say there may be “some mental health or drug-related concerns” regarding Carlson’s behavior.

His bail has been set at $75,000.

No one was injured during the fire, which caused about $25,000 worth of damage.