The man accused of setting a Sioux Falls house on fire claims it was an accident. 22-year-old Jeremy Larsen faced a judge today in Minnehaha County. Larsen faces two counts of reckless burning.
Today in Minnehaha County Court, a prosecutor said Larsen told investigators he was not in the area when the fire started, but later admitted that was not true. He also claimed he was drinking with his friends, and then "jokingly" poured some gasoline on the floor inside the house, and threw a lit cigarette at it. Larsen claimed he thought the fire was out, and left the scene. The fire smoldered and spread, engulfing the house in flames. Larsen went back to the house, and even did an interview with a news crew, and said the vacant home had belonged to a childhood friend.
"There's always this belief people who do this want to have that glory and that recognition or they want to watch the response from emergency workers. I don't know if that was part of it or not," Lt. Loren McManus said.
From the beginning, investigators believed the fire was intentionally set. Authorities found a gas can by the back door, and burns on areas of the floor in the house.
A neighbor tipped investigators off about seeing a suspicious car in the neighborhood. They found the car on 18th and Cleveland, which led them to Larsen. Police say watchful neighbors played a big part in finding a suspect.
"If you can have that kind of input from our citizens, it's going to make our job a whole lot easier," McManus said.
Larsen's attorney pointed out her client is from Sioux Falls, and has no prior felonies on his record. She asked the judge to be lenient with bond.