Duluth landlord burned after intentionally setting apartment on fire: Charges

A landlord in Duluth is accused of intentionally setting his apartment on fire while other tenants were inside the building.  

Travis Carlson, 37, faces a felony charge of first-degree arson for allegedly starting his apartment on fire early in the morning on May 18.

According to court records, officers were called to a building on the 2400 block of West 4th Street shortly after 4 a.m. for a reported apartment fire. Upon arrival, officers saw the upstairs apartment in flames with "We Didn’t Start the Fire" by Billy Joel blaring from inside. 

A tenant who lived below Carlson told police he woke up around 3 or 3:30 a.m. to the sound of his landlord "smashing glass and breaking things," charges read. The noises continued for about 20 minutes before Carlson knocked on his door telling him "the house is on fire." 

Another neighbor called 911 after reportedly seeing Carlson around 3:30 a.m. under his truck with gas cans. Carlson was going in and out of the building before the neighbor saw a "flash like a fireball" coming from the upstairs apartment, charges allege. The fire investigation revealed holes drilled in the truck’s gas tank, and lids of gas cans were scattered on the ground. 

Additionally, the electrical paneling of the house had several wires pulled out, and the apartment had several areas with "green liquid lines from a burned accelerant staining several pieces of furniture, flooring, and walls," charges read. 

Carlson was found the next day with burn injuries to his legs and arms. He made his first court appearance Tuesday morning, and the judge set his bail at $75,000. He remains in custody at the St. Louis County jail.