State Marshal investigates ‘suspicious’ Austin house fire

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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – An Austin man was arrested and is being held in Mower County Jail on charges of first-degree arson.

James Slavan allegedly started a fire at his own residence Wednesday afternoon.

The Austin Fire Department responded to a report that a tenant and his guest were trapped inside a home on the 1200 block of 3rd Ave NW.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze that ignited around 3:15 p.m. within minutes. No other residences were affected and no one was hurt.

“One of the occupants had gotten out onto the roof, and the other one was still inside,” said Chief Jim McCoy of the Austin Fire Dept. “There was a small fire at the door, we put that out with a handline, and opened the door, and the other occupant came out the door.”

Officials are treating this as a crime scene because the tenant reports there was someone at the door before the fire. It’s unclear if the resident knows who it was.

The state fire marshal is taking the lead on the case. He was on scene for several hours combing the area for evidence. He says anything recovered will be sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to determine if there was any foul play, but that process could take months.

Linda Ha

Linda Ha

Reporter | @LindaHaTV | lha@kttc.com

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